Shaping Tomorrow's Built Environment Today

Five Hospitals, One Goal: Maximum Energy Savings

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Photo Credit: CHU de Québec - Université Laval Used by permission.

©2018 This excerpt taken from the article of the same name which appeared in ASHRAE Journal, vol. 60, no. 6, June 2018.

By Olivier Matte, eng.; Patrick Ouellet, eng.

About the Authors: Olivier Matte, Eng., is ecosystem coordinator—training and awareness and Patrick Ouellet, Eng., is assistant director of Technical Services at CHU de Québec – Université Laval, Quebec City.

Between 2010 and 2017, the CHU de Québec–Université Laval (Quebec City University Hospital Center) underwent major asset renewal across three of its sites (and a fourth one was completed as of press date). The CHU has slashed its energy consumption by 30%, generating $2.9 million in annual savings, and reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 52% (12,000 metric tons per year).

The CHU chose a performance contracting model and used an integrated approach to completely rethink the way they consume energy. This resulted in maximum energy savings and energy efficiency incentives, which were used to pay for a large portion of the asset renewal required in the hospitals.


Project Sites

The CHU is a group of five main hospitals in Quebec City, with an annual energy bill of $9.5 million.

Upgrades to the three sites (Photos 1, 2 and 3) were completed in 2015, with two full years of performance monitoring.

The sites are located in a different neighborhoods and do not share a common district network. All were treated as separate projects. The largest site, and the first to be upgraded, was CHUL with a gross surface area of 1,375,434 ft2 (127 778 m2) and a net surface area of 1,031,946 ft2 (95 868 m2). Upgrades to the two remaining sites began a year later.


Needs and Requirements

Although each site had particular needs, a few common drivers were present among all three sites:

  • Renewing HVAC assets and addressing deferred maintenance resulting from years of government budget cuts to the hospitals’ technical services;
  • Achieving sustainability goals, including reduced water and energy use, lower GHG emissions, and eliminating certain refrigerants;
  • Reducing maintenance costs for HVAC systems;
  • Maintaining comfort for the patients and staff;
  • Meeting energy efficiency targets set by the Quebec government for healthcare facilities; and
  • Designing with a focus on results.

To achieve its goals, the CHU issued a public request for proposal (RFP), seeking a design-build firm that could also contractually guarantee the project cost, the financial incentives and the annual savings over the entire payback period. The project’s simple payback period (excluding financing rate) was 6.5 years. One of the financial metrics used to choose the winning firm was net present value (NPV), which highlighted the project with the greatest overall value for the CHU, accounting for all expenses and savings over a 20-year period.

Over the following months, the chosen firm became an extension of the CHU’s technical services department, doing extensive surveys of the HVAC systems and prompting feedback from the CHU’s operating staff. The project team was focused on achieving substantial results, and took a holistic approach to the buildings, seeking every opportunity to improve the ventilation systems, heating and cooling networks, lighting, and centralized control systems.

A central aspect to the design was converting the hospitals’ steam heating systems to hot water, making it possible to add high-efficiency heat pumps. The design for each site focused on maximizing heat recovery and minimizing energy losses throughout all networks (steam, hot water, chilled water).


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Photo Credit: CHU de Québec - Université Laval Used by permission.
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