Consulting Specifying Engineer Consulting-Specifying Engineer (November-CSE) : Page-10

input #6 at MEP Roundtable CSE: What are the newest trends in hospital retrofit projects? Robert Jones Jr.: A new trend is creating a pleasant experience for the patient similar to a hotel environment. There is also an increased interest in daylighting within spaces, lighting/ device controllability, and intelligent user interface equipment for the patient and hospital staff. Najafi: Hospital administrators and facilities managers are becoming more and more focused on energy efficiency, even on their retrofit projects, as a way of controlling costs. Research says that the average hospital uses as much energy in a single year as 3,500 households, and about 2.5 times as much energy per sq ft as a commercial office building. Replac-ing older chillers with newer technologies such as variable frequency drives (VFD), or using air-cooled variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems in administrative areas can help improve the overall perfor-mance and efficiency of HVAC systems. There are also some newer technologies, such as magnetic bearing chillers, chilled beam, and the use of geothermal systems that may be applicable to hospital retrofit projects, depending upon the size. Smith: The most significant item is the use of LED lighting to replace existing fluorescent and incandescent fixtures. Premium cost of LED fixtures has decreased significantly in the last sev-eral years, and we are seeing paybacks within 2 to 3 years. CSE: What are some challenges you have faced in coordinating structural systems with mechanical, electrical, plumbing, or fire protec-tion systems? Banse: Short floor-to-floor heights that need to match up to adjacent struc-ture floor levels cause much heartburn, especially when the new areas are design and technology spaces with higher ceil-ing height requirements. Steel framed buildings will generally have deeper structures than a concrete structure and also can cause space problems. While defining trade zones above ceiling, all systems must be flexible to offset and use any available space to have the sys-tems installed and accessible. Sometimes “too much” height to work with can cause similar accessibility problems as with “too little” space. Smith: Building spaces above ceil-ings have been reduced to a bare mini-mum to reduce general construction costs. Getting ductwork to fit within these spaces requires more fittings, which adds static pressure to the sys-tem, increases fan horsepower, and ulti-mately energy use. Integrated project delivery helps to alleviate these issues as all changes are evaluated based on 10 Consulting-Specifying Engineer • NOVEMBER 2014


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