Caring for our planet while we care for you
Saving energy is a priority at Bay Area Hospital, for both environmental and economic reasons. Our 2013 expansion included “green” building features, which reduced per-square-foot energy costs nearly 20 percent compared with our previously constructed facilities.
We’ve been able to extend some of those features beyond the new area, incorporating energy-saving features throughout the building. We even have plans for electric car-charging stations.
Electric lights are a big factor in any building’s energy footprint. Our new facility uses about 25 percent less electricity than the industry standard, thanks to automatic control systems and other features:
- Lights in public areas automatically turn on and off on schedule.
- Light levels in main patient corridors are reduced by 50 percent after hours.
- Lights in many areas automatically turn off when rooms are vacant.
- LEDs and high-efficiency fluorescent lighting save half the energy of standard compact fluorescents, and up to 90 percent compared with standard light bulbs. We’re installing LED lighting throughout the hospital.
- Exterior lighting is designed to maximize light distribution with the fewest possible fixtures. Metal halide lamps further reduce energy use.
Electric motors in pumps, fans, and elevators are big energy users. Special features make motors in our new facility more efficient:
- Variable frequency drives (VFDs) control motor speed and torque by varying the frequency and voltage of AC current. This can reduce a motor’s energy use by 30-50 percent.
- “Soft start” controls reduce energy demand by bringing motors up to speed gradually. These devices are in use not only in the new area, but throughout the hospital.
Computers and servers are notorious energy hogs. “Green” features in our new facility reduce power use by these devices – and even recover the heat they generate:
- Up-to-date processors and data storage devices deliver high performance with low energy use. And they automatically hibernate when they aren’t needed.
- Energy-efficient workstations reduce power consumption to about 20 watts per machine – down from 300.
- All computer servers generate heat. So a “heat recovery chiller” collects this otherwise wasted energy to help heat water. By piping chilled water through server towers, this feature is estimated to save more than $60,000 a year.
Digital controls can reduce energy use by 30 percent or more, by integrating various building systems. Also, a “power quality monitoring system” can spot energy anomalies that could reduce electrical efficiency.
Many mechanical features in the new section of Bay Area Hospital are designed to reduce energy consumption:
- Fan systems react quickly to changes in air pressure and temperature.
- Jumbo air ducts move high volumes at low speeds – saving energy by reducing resistance.
- Two high-efficiency boilers, no bigger than old-style phone booths, provide radiant heat to warm the new area. Burning natural gas, these boilers typically run at 95 percent to 98 percent efficiency. (Older boilers commonly run at 75 percent to 79 percent.)
- A dual-fuel backup boiler with a 15,000-gallon diesel reserve provides self-reliance in case our natural gas supply is disrupted.
- Low-flow bathroom fixtures are 20 percent more efficient.
Partnering with nature
The new building is designed to take advantage of natural light, with sunny windows lining exterior rooms and corridors. In some areas, glass dividers invite sunlight into interior rooms as well.
- Some windows at Bay Area Hospital look out over “green roofs.” Nearly 5,000 square feet of roof is covered in 4½ inches of soil and planted with sedum. These elevated gardens insulate the areas below, exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen, and provide a pleasant view from windows above.