Posts Tagged ‘Hospitals’

Hospital design: minimising energy use associated with HVAC

Hospital corridor - yosoyjulito on Flickr

Hospital corridor – yosoyjulito on Flickr

Building Better Healthcare reports on a new research project that ‘will consider the effect of mechanical cooling and ventilation on hospital environments’.

Rising temperatures mean that many new build and refurbishment schemes in the UK healthcare sector now feature mechanical ventilation and air conditioning.

However, this can have negative impacts. At the macro level it can lead to an increase in energy use and carbon emissions, threatening the NHS’s pledge to achieve an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. At the micro level it can reduce air quality in hospitals, as well as generate additional heat.

You can download that the Department of Health’s 2012 Heatwave Plan here – should you still have faith that such a heatwave will materialise, of course… It highlights how heatwaves disproportionately affect the old, the ill and the frail.

It notes specific strategies for cooling hospital estates and care homes:
– Create cooling green spaces in the surrounding environment with trees, shrubs, trellises, arbours, climbers, green roofs and water features. Studies suggest that air conditioning demand can be reduced by up to 30% through the effects of well-placed trees.
– Do not extend car parks at the expense of green spaces – this adds to surrounding heat. Introduce an active transport plan. Plant trees around existing car parks and on top of multi-storey car parks.
– Ensure that buildings are well insulated. Both loft and cavity insulation helps to reduce heat build-up (and also reduces carbon emissions and increases energy efficiency).
– Increase opportunities for night-time ventilation either through vents or windows.
– For south-facing windows, consider external shading or reflective glass. Reflective paint may help on south-facing walls.

SHINE is a useful resource on sustainable healthcare buildings in the UK.

‘SHINE aims to help NHS Trusts improve the sustainability of their buildings by providing a learning network with guidance, case studies, events and training, covering all aspects of sustainability and how it can be delivered through NHS procurement processes.’

It has a series of case studies:
Churchill Hospital, Oxford
Ground source energy for winter heating and summer cooling of a new cancer wing.

Bamburgh Clinic, St Nicholas Hospital, Newcastle
CHP and air handling units with heat recovery, plus rainwater harvesting, movement sensitive lighting and light pipes.

Gateway Surgical Centre, Newham
Maximum use of natural light and natural ventilation, with solar panels and wind turbines powering car-park lighting.

ESI references: