Mar 12

Energy Conscious Hospitals: Targeting 100! and the 2030 Challenge

By: Andy Becker

The following information is an excerpt from a 2010 publication from the University of Washington entitled Targeting 100! The project was funded by the BetterBricks Program of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance in collaboration with a team lead by the University of Washington's Integrated Design Lab. The Target 100 program is an aggressive strategic movement toward driving energy use in hospitals down to a 60% reduction in annual energy use compared to the average energy use indices of hospitals across the country.

Energy + Interior Environmental Quality: Buildings in healthcare use an immense amount of energy; approximately 4% of all energy consumed in the United States today, including all of the energy used by industry, transportation and building sectors. Hospitals are responsible for an enormous amount of greenhouse gas emissions; one average sized hospital emits approximately 18,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually. Thus, the fields of hospital design, construction and operation offer a great opportunity for energy resource acquisition.

Energy Goal Setting: In order to reduce energy use it is imperative to first establish reasonable and testable goals for energy reduction. To set these goals, it is helpful to understand how much energy current hospitals use, and then develop reasonable energy reduction targets. Annualized energy use for buildings is often reported as an Energy Use Index or EUI. The EUI for a building is the total amount of energy used by the building, most commonly electricity and natural gas, per square foot of floor area, metered on an annual basis. Buildings' EUI are often reported in units of KBtu/SF/Year. This is a way of comparing different buildings to each other, much like comparing different cars to each other using a miles per gallon rating. The U.S. Energy Information Administration's Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) is a national database of building operational energy use that provides a reference to how much energy buildings consume by climate zone and by building use type."

The average energy use index (EUI) for hospitals surveyed by CBECS in the Midwest is 237 kBtu/SF/year.

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Targets of Opportunity: A survey of the operational energy use data concluded that over 50% of the energy used in a hospital is used for the heating of either spaces or hot water.

Heating as the predominant energy load became the largest target of opportunity for energy reduction, specifically re-heat energy. Simplified, re-heat is a process used in building systems where outside air is all cooled to a common low temperature, often dictated by the perimeter zones or the hottest areas within the building. Then, when this over-cooled air is re-distributed through the building, in most cases it is re-heated to more comfortable temperature.

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STUDY FRAMEWORK: THE 2030 CHALLENGE FOR 2010

What is the 2030 Challenge? The 2030 Challenge is an energy goal that is being adopted by architects, engineers and owners in an effort to greatly reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in buildings. It is a progressive goal where every five years a greater reduction in energy use is targeted. For new buildings being designed for operation between 2010-2015, the goal is a 60% reduction from standard operational energy use and by 2030 the goal is to reach net zero annual energy demand. Compliance with the 2030 Challenge is measured by a building's modeled energy performance compared to operational energy use for a median performing building of the same type and climate zone. Operational energy performance is determined by comparison to the Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey from 2003 (CBECS), a national database that houses information on different building types in various climate zones. Target Finder is a web interface used to identify energy information from the CBECS database normalizing for building typology, climate, size, use, etc.

A 2030 Challenge Hospital, At What Cost?
The research question for this project was whether the research team could design a hospital that met the 2030 Challenge, a 60% reduction in energy use, at little additional capital cost to the owner. In order to meet this energy goal in the Pacific Northwest, a project must have a simulated energy performance of less than 108 KBtu/SF year, a 60% reduction from 270 KBtu/SF/Year, the average operational EUI for hospitals in the Seattle climate region as documented by Target Finder and used as the baseline reference for Architecture 2030. The project team set an EUI of 100 for its goal, thus creating the title "Target 100".

Project Team
Funded by the BetterBricks Program of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, the University of Washington's Integrated Design Lab and a collaboration of design and construction professionals set forth to develop a body of work encompassing:

  1. Knowledge about the actual operational energy-use characteristics of hospitals in the Pacific Northwest and abroad
  2. Methods for radically reducing energy use in the hospital sector to meet the 2030 Challenge for 2010
  3. Two prototype hospital configurations that meet the 2030 Challenge for 2010
  4. Cost implications for these prototype hospitals

As part of this work, the group developed strategies for reducing energy in hospitals by more than 60% in the Pacific Northwest, and provided a schematic path to meeting the 2030 Challenge and a road-map to even greater energy savings.

The full report developed and published by the University of Washington can found here: Targeting 100

Tags: Engineering, Healthcare, Sustainability