ST VINCENT’S HOSPITAL UNLOCKS MAJOR HVAC SAVINGS
Most large organisations, including Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital, are regularly called on by companies promising new approaches to finding ‘energy efficiency’. This always raises the question: “How much do we have to spend, in order to make savings?” Of course, most solutions require substantial investment in infrastructure and software, while providing long lists of reports which by themselves do not save a single dollar – in fact, often just the opposite.
St Vincent’s management was determined to improve the effectiveness of HVAC, primarily in terms of patient and staff comfort, as well as finding ways to save on energy. Further, much of the facilities team’s time was being taken up by reacting to phone calls or emails requesting ‘quick fixes’ to hot- or cold-spot issues. Unfortunately, manual adjustments and overrides on BMS cause the next problem down the track.
The main driver to change was that of cost: the continually increasing price of providing cutting-edge health care and rising electricity costs meant that no extra funding was available for new HVAC purchases or initiatives. How then could the hospital improve air conditions (which are highly regulated in critical health care environment), conserve energy, minimise the number of temperature/pressure/humidity change requests received each day, while reducing costs and minimising the risk involved?
Verdantix (London-based analyst focused on energy sustainability) recommends that organisations seeking HVAC improvements partner with firms that have energy/environmental domain expertise, proven implementation capabilities in a value-delivery framework, and knowledge of industry specific user groups and usage scenarios from the major HVAC suppliers/manufacturers. As a result, in 2012 the hospital’s manager for capital works and asset management, Owen Judge, called in Entro.py. Entro.py makes use of existing data and cutting edge technology to run the building smoother, similar to the way an experienced driver handles heavy traffic; looking ahead as much as possible adjust continuously to current conditions.
The project’s results have greatly exceeded St Vincent’s expectations. Today,
- Savings on HVAC Energy are on average 28%
- People in the building are more comfortable
- Equipment runs smoother and more economic
The results – in particular the energy cost savings – frees up much needed funds for other vital hospital projects.