“We beat our overall energy consumption considerably from our initial energy model” Inman says.
In fact, the hospital was able to cash in on another Pacific Gas and Electric Co. incentive to the tune of $500,000 for its new on-site cogeneration plant. This cogeneration system generates 750kW of electricity and recovers a high percentage of the waste heat, with about 3 million BTUs used in the building’s heating systems.
While designing the new central utility plant, Inman’s team also recommended a very robust building automation with a high degree of measurement and verification of each energy stream. “We can actually shut down some of the systems, at times, and switch over to alternate systems to reduce the cost of purchasing energy,” Inman explains.
Another highlight of the central plant is a very sophisticated emergency power system. The system itself is robust enough to run the entire hospital for up to three days while the intelligent controls can turn non-essential areas off and on, as determined by the hospital’s load at a particular time.
Of course, no new hospital design in the state of California would be complete without a robust, code-compliant seismic design.
Originally, the structural engineers set out to both design the new tower to meet SB-1953 requirements and update an existing patient care tower, which would no longer be code-compliant as a Seismic Performance Category, SPC-1 structure by 2013. However, during the course of the project, California changed its methodology of analysis and the older tower was then rated at SPC-2, rendering it code-compliant through 2030. Ultimately, the structural work focused on the new construction.
Taking advantage of some newer technology from Japan, the structural engineer, Arup, specified 160 buckling-restrained braced frames for increased protection with less structural steel.
“The system is like a giant shock absorber. It doesn’t require a lot of welding as the pieces are mostly bolted together,” explains Eric Ko, SE, principal, Arup, San Francisco. It allowed for a 25% reduction in structural steel use, saving several million dollars in construction cost.”
At the same time, placement of buckling-restrained braces tends to interfere with mechanical units and create interruptions in planning. “We worked very closely with the architects and mechanical engineer to find clever ways to stay out of everyone’s way. Ultimately, we parked some of the braces on the exterior and the balance along stairwells to free up interior spaces,” Ko says.
The team also had to brace the medical equipment to ensure that the hospital could be fully operational following a seismic event.
Wading through the approvals process
While the John Muir team put some great technology into the tower—at the same time managing a tight, well-run project process—it still had to contend with the California approvals process, which involved a whopping 13,000 inspections. Yet, the building team came through with flying colors, registering zero noncompliances.
“California has a very high regulatory environment and I don’t mean to underplay the challenge, but it was very well managed by the team,” Monaldo explains.