Another unique component to the CRMC project was LifePoint’s desire for energy efficiency, which was answered with the decision to pursue a geothermal system for heating and cooling needs.
“LifePoint obviously had a forward-looking outlook on this to be able to see the future of healthcare design and buy-in to something with CMTA to design this facility 100% geothermal. It’s going to be an extremely energy-efficient hospital. It’s a maintenance-friendly design, and I think it’s going to be great for them,” says Kevin Sandrella, PE, LEED AP, electrical engineer with CMTA.
While geothermal is in use at healthcare facilities across the country, CRMC represents the first 100% geothermal hospital in Kentucky. The team credits the state with having an ideal geography for such a system thanks to the amount of underlying rock found there.
“The thermal transfer of rock versus other soil types is pretty similar, but the really important aspect of rock is it’s easy to drill,” Sandrella says. “It makes the drilling cheaper and makes the whole system very cost-effective. We also run into water a lot of times in Kentucky, and that really helps with the heat transfer for the wells.”
Chris Malicki, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, principal for the CRMC project at Stengel Hill, says the system was intentionally designed for ease of use. “Each individual heat pump unit is served by one type of filter size—they’re all basically utilizing the same parts, so it’s just a kit of parts that’s repeated over and over again,” he says.
The system also offers flexibility with temperature control for individual rooms, and when one unit goes down, it’s limited to that area and an entire wing doesn’t need to be shut down to service that one unit, he adds.
In the end, Love says the system, providing monthly energy savings combined with tax credits and incentives, will see a 10-month payback. “That is significant for the investment that we made that will pay off years and years and years into the future,” she says.
Also imperative to the efficiency of the building was the envelop itself, with a spray-applied polyurethane insulation applied inside the walls, expanding to as much as 5 inches of thickness in the exterior wall cavity that was then sealed tight.
“If you don’t have a very efficient thermal envelope, basically you can put the best mechanical system in the world in and it’s not going to do any good,” Malicki says. Also sealing the building is a roof installation that included an insulated concrete system, as well as UV glass to limit heat gain throughout the facility.
For more information on Clark Regional Medical Center, please visit www.clarkregional.org.
Coming soon to Healthcare Building Ideas: The Clark Regional Medical Center team shares more insight on what to consider when it comes to using a geothermal heating and cooling system in healthcare. Watch for it at www.healthcarebuildingideas.com.