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©2017 This excerpt taken from the article of the same name which appeared in ASHRAE Journal, vol. 59, no. 3, March 2017

By Kurt Monteiro, P.Eng,, HFDP, HBDP, Member ASHRAE; Brent Frayne, P.Eng.

About the Authors
Kurt Monteiro, P.Eng., is a principal, and Brent Frayne, P.Eng., is an associate at Smith + Andersen.

What does it take to design the first “fully digital” medical facility in North America? How would you provide 100% outdoor air to a 1.8 million ft2 (167 225 m2) building without drastically increasing energy consumption? How might increased control, connectivity, and automation improve patient care? These were the questions facing the team on the Humber River Hospital project—one of Canada’s largest regional acute care facilities. Designed and built over 44 months through a design-build-finance-maintain process, this project is a shining example of the efficiencies that can be achieved through optimal collaboration between the design team, contractors, and facilities management. The new 656-bed hospital provides acute medical services, including emergency, medical/surgical care, mental health, bariatric care, diagnostic imaging, dialysis, and cancer care.

A vision for a “lean, green, and digital” health-care facility design was established by the hospital’s Board of Directors and senior management team, with a goal to reinvent patient care. Automation is a key feature of the hospital, with features such as automated laboratory specimen testing; pneumatic chute systems to transport linens and trash; pneumatic tube systems to transport lab specimens and medications; and automated guided vehicles to deliver supplies and food to inpatient units.

Preparedness and responsiveness were also critical to the development of Humber River Hospital’s building features. At Humber River Hospital, careful coordination of features such as an emergency generator system with an extensive distributed load management system, fully integrated security systems, a medical gas system, a nurse call system, a wireless real-time locating system, and unified mobile communication systems elevate the building standard of a modern health-care center.

The final design achieved many milestones, including:

  • Largest single building health-care facility in Ontario;
  • Largest modular green roof installation in Canada;
  • Largest installation of electrochromic glass in North America;
  • 100% outdoor air operation for improved indoor air quality and infection control; and
  • Designed to exceed ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007 energy-efficiency requirements by 40%.



Energy Efficiency

Building systems (including heating, cooling, ventilation, plumbing, and lighting) were pushed to a higher level to meet the hospital’s target of exceeding Standard 90.1-2007 by 40.8%. To meet this target, many options were analyzed during the design process. Each option was modeled by the design team’s energy modeler, using eQUEST v3.64, to show compliance with the energy target stated above. A separate energy modeler was employed by the facility management team to compare different energy-efficiency measures along with their life-cycle costs.

The energy-efficient design included innovative approaches, such as an integrated heating and cooling plant with highly efficient ventilation equipment and distribution and airside enthalpy recovery. The enhanced building envelope incorporates automatically adjusting electrochromic glass, which reduces solar gain during peak cooling times. The lighting was designed with a control system on the patient bedside computer terminal, achieving a lighting power density 46% lower than Standard 90.1-2007 requirements.


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