Canadian Consulting Engineer

Energy Retrofits at Lakeridge Health

May 1, 2014
By By Olivier Matte, ing. and Josephine Pham Ecosystem Energy Services

In November 2013, the Ontario Hospital Association named Lakeridge Health the Green Hospital of the Year. The award recognizes the hospital’s multi-faceted energy efficiency and waste reduction measures.

In November 2013, the Ontario Hospital Association named Lakeridge Health the Green Hospital of the Year. The award recognizes the hospital’s multi-faceted energy efficiency and waste reduction measures.

“We’re for healthy communities, and that’s what this project is all about,” said Lakeridge Health President and CEO Kevin Empey. “We’re reducing our environmental footprint together with our energy costs, generating savings that can be put toward front-line care.”

Lakeridge Health is a large community hospital with a total of 15 sites located in and around Durham Region in southern Ontario. Four of these sites are large hospitals in Oshawa, Bowmanville, Port Perry and Whitby.

In 2009, similar to many other Canadian hospitals, Lakeridge Health was under pressure to cut costs, upgrade its infrastructure and renew its assets — all without compromising the quality of patient care.

Recognizing that there were untapped savings opportunities within the existing infrastructure, the Lakeridge team issued a competitive public call for tender. This resulted in a partnership with Ecosystem Energy Services, a Canadian firm that specializes in deep energy retrofits that are self-financed through guaranteed savings.

Beginning in 2010, Ecosystem has designed and implemented energy-saving retrofits for the four main hospital sites, which together amount to 136,680 square metres (1,471,200 sq.ft.). The retrofits aim to reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions, and improve the hospital environment for staff, patients and their families. Construction at the Whitby and Port Perry locations was completed in November of 2013. At the Oshawa and Bowmanville locations construction is expected to be completed by this December.

The project has 29 energy conservation measures, which together are expected to cut energy costs by 20% annually. In addition, the project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2,078 tonnes per year, which is the equivalent of displacing the emissions produced by 310 typical Ontario family homes.

The hospital will pay for the project out of the energy savings achieved, and Ecosystem guarantees the construction costs and the annual savings for a period of five years.

“This guaranteed energy saving investment has allowed us to reduce our risk of infrastructure failures and save money to reinvest into capital improvements,” said Neil Clarke, director of engineering and infrastructure at Lakeridge Health.

Cogeneration cost offset

The 1.6 MW combined heat and power (CHP) plant at the Oshawa site will generate 42% of the total project energy savings. The plant is fuelled by natural gas and uses 37% less energy than a conventional power plant and boiler system.

The CHP plant’s two reciprocating natural gas-fired engines are rated at 800 kilowatt electric each and are sized to optimize the running time throughout the year and the payback period. They have a combined efficiency of over 87%, considerably higher than using separate grid power and natural gas-fired boilers. Each engine generates over 3,100,000 BTU/h (or 911 kilowatts of heat) of recovered energy in the form of hot water, which is used through a re-engineered hot water heating network.

The costs of the CHP plant are offset by a $1.78 million incentive payment from the Ontario Power Authority as part of the new “Save on Energy Process & Systems” program. As of March 2014 this new incentive had been granted to only five projects; Lakeridge Health is the first hospital recipient.

LED lighting — innovative tendering

Over 33,000 fluorescent tubes have been replaced with highly efficient fluorescent models, which will reduce Lakeridge Health’s lighting electricity consumption by 26%. All four sites have had their interior T12 lighting replaced with extra-long-life high efficiency fluorescent tubes. By simultaneously replacing tubes and their ballasts, Lakeridge Health can defer its lighting maintenance by four to six years, depending on the application.

Lighting in the north and south atriums of the Oshawa site was converted to LEDs. The conversion, together with an improved design for the positioning of the fixtures and a natural light harvesting control system, has allowed for energy savings of 87% to 95% in these atriums.

In the parking lots, Ecosystem’s preliminary field testing with LED lighting led to a public call for tender whereby manufacturers were prompted to guarantee the specified lighting levels at the best price. This strategy created a truly integrated approach between Lakeridge Health, Ecosystem and the lighting manufacturer. The resulting LED lighting upgrades are saving between 68% and 87% depending on the application. They will also reduce future maintenance costs, since the new lighting’s life expectancy is nearly 10 times greater than that of the previous lamps and ballasts.

Solar power to generate revenue

A total of 144 photovoltaic solar panels have been installed at Bowmanville, Oshawa and Port Perry, and each site now has a generating capacity of 10 kilowatts. This is power that Lakeridge Health is selling back to the province’s electricity grid as part of the Ontario Power Authority’s microFIT (feed-in tariff) 1.0 program. Each of the three sites now has a steady revenue stream of between $9,000 to $11,000 per year for a period of 20 years.

Steam to hot water conversion

Central to the energy retrofits is the steam to hot water conversion of the heating networks in Port Perry, Whitby, and Bowmanville. New hot water boilers were installed, along with a variable flow hot water heating network. The network is taking advantage of variable frequency drives to minimize the additional electricity load generated by the new pumps. Modulating the flow and maximizing the temperature differential makes for a flexible and efficient heating network.

In total, Ecosystem replaced seven boilers, three chillers, four rooftop units, and four old domestic hot water tanks. As well, a new building automation control system was installed at the Whitby location. At Bowmanville and Port Perry, the building automation control system was upgraded and extended to include all of the main HVAC equipment.

Removal of city water cooling load

In hospital kitchens it was common practice to use water provided by the city to cool refrigerator and freezer compressors. This has served as a reliable source of supply. However, the price of water has gone up and so has the emphasis on water conservation. As a result, the design at Bowmanville and Oshawa calls for the use of the existing chilled water system to cool the kitchen compressors. This approach cuts operating costs and conserves water.

Alignment of interests spurs collaboration

Ecosystem guarantees the energy savings and construction costs of the retrofit. This performance-based model drives the company to meet and surpass contractual numbers and creates a highly collaborative partnership. Design is fine-tuned at each stage to address the needs of the system operators as well as the needs of the management team. The incentives thus far have surpassed expectations and will reach $2.2 million, well over the $340,000 originally planned.

Collaboration is essential to the success of the project. Teams from both Ecosystem and Lakeridge Health’s engineering and infrastructure department hold regular meetings and are in constant communication.

“Because we’re constantly present on site, we’re able to adjust our design based on the needs of Lakeridge Health,” says Guillaume Lavallée, Ecosystem’s project manager. “Overall, it has been a smooth process with a lot of trust and open communication from both parties.” cce

Olivier Matte, ing., is coordinator of training and awareness with Ecosystem Energy Services, a Canadian company with offices in Toronto, Quebec City, Montreal, and New Y
ork City.

Owner/client: Lakeridge Health

Energy retrofit contractor: Ecosystem Energy Services (Thierry Desjardins, ing., André-Benoit Allard, ing., Guillaume Lavallée, P.Eng., Etienne deMuelenaere, EIT, Olivier Matte, ing., Lucas Kruitwagen, EIT, Terry Irwin, Dmytro Atroshko, Thomas Falk).

Other key players: Efficiency Engineering

(plans and specifications).


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