Case Study – Hospital Ventilation Optimization and Cost Reduction

By Jenny Conte

CLIENT: Large Urban Hospital with Multiple Facilities

CHALLENGE: Reduce energy cost and improve the patient experience

BACKGROUND: The hospital has two high rise acute care facilities, a high rise outpatient facility, and two high rise research facilities. The ventilation air amounts had not been evaluated for accuracy and compliance since the facilities were constructed. Each of the facilities had space ventilation requirements established by the state healthcare department as well as national requirements for laboratories. The requirements are necessary for patient, staff, and visitor safety. Many individuals feel that if the ventilation requirements are exceeded the facilities will be safer which is not true. Over ventilation requires excessive heating and cooling to condition the excess outside air for ventilation.

PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS: Spot checking the amount of ventilation in patient rooms, treatment rooms, waste storage rooms, and laboratories showed that many ventilation requirements were being exceeded by as much as 100%. Variable air volume (VAV) air terminals had excessive air flow rates programmed into their operating sequences. Many terminals were not working because of equipment failures that were only detected by hot and cold calls of the space occupants, which lowered the institutions Press Gainey Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores.

ACCLAIM’S EXPERTISE AT WORK: A room ventilation schedule (RVS) was developed and implemented, and broken air terminals were repaired. Individual room volumes were measured and RVSs were determined by compliance with the state health department. Each building contained thousands of VAV and constant volume air terminals (CAV). The minimum cooling and heating airflows were programmed into each air terminal. All of the work was paid out of operating funds and was dispersed on a timely budget neutral basis.

RESULTS: The proper control of outside ventilation air reduced the annual energy cost of $1.2M, or 5%.

THE “TAKE AWAY”: The cost of excessive ventilation in a hospital can be considerable. Acclaim demonstrated savings available through a disciplined approach to ventilation, while maintaining operations within the regulatory requirements.