Shaping Tomorrow's Built Environment Today

Heating System Key to Health Center Efficiency

By Daniel Robert, P.Eng., Member ASHRAE; Stanley Katz, Member ASHRAE; Simon Kattoura, P.Eng.

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©2019 This excerpt taken from the article of the same name which appeared in ASHRAE Journal, vol. 61, no. 6, June 2019.

About the Authors
Daniel Robert, P.Eng., is vice president sales and engineering, Stanley Katz is director general of piping, and Simon Katttoura, P.Eng., is director of energy services at Kolostat, Laval, QC, Canada.

The word “ullivik” means “a place to stay or wait” in Inuktitut, a language spoken by Inuit. This is a good illustration of the work of the Ullivik Heath Centre, which is dedicated to temporarily accommodating Inuit convalescents who are hospitalized in nearby Montreal and their relatives. The efficient design of the health center, which opened in December 2016, is primarily based on the creation of a low temperature glycol loop for envelope and outdoor air heating and preheating of domestic hot water.

The 65,000 ft2 (6039 m2) building incorporates many sustainable-development and energy-efficient measures that translated into 43.7% energy saving with respect to Canada’s MNECB 1997 (Model National Energy Code for Buildings) reference building, which is equivalent to 32% less than ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007 reference energy consumption. It has had a 100% occupancy rate since it opened.

The center is spread over four floors and a basement. The basement houses the main mechanical and electrical rooms, two offices, the employees’ locker room and toilet facilities. The T-shaped ground floor includes a reception and rest area, an administrative section and a catering area with a shipping/receiving zone. The second, third and fourth floors are L-shaped and house patient rooms and some common areas (corridors, laundries).

The design-build approach, adopted since the start of the project, allowed the design team to optimize occupant comfort, energy performance and building sustainability while respecting the budget and the needs of the owner.

An energy simulation model was created early in the design process and was used to demonstrate to the customer the financial viability of the proposed concept compared to an original design using variable refrigerant flow (VRF) technology.

Built with the goal of maximizing energy performance and occupant comfort, Ullivik is designed to meet hospital and clinic ventilation requirements of ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170-2008, Ventilation of Health Care Facilities.

Installed water to water heat pumps are designed to meet the needs of air conditioning year-round. The heat pump condenser loop is used as a thermal water loop that distributes heat to room fan coils, outdoor air units and domestic hot water preheating systems. Connected on this same loop are dry coolers to remove the excess heat in summer; during cold periods, condensing boilers are used to add heat to the loop when required.

To maximize heat recovery, the toilet exhaust, general building exhaust, main electrical room and server room can be mechanically cooled using the chilled water generated by the water to water heat pumps whenever required to transfer the condenser heat to the thermal loop.


Energy Efficiency

The building chillers’/water to water heat pumps, a dry cooler and condensing boilers are connected to the building’s low temperature (104°F [40°C]) glycol loop, on which the center’s efficient design is primarily based. The loop is fed with heat by the heat pump condensers as the first stage of heating and then by the condensing boilers as the second stage. Excess heat is removed from the loop through the dry coolers.


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