This website is intended for healthcare professionals only.

Hospital Healthcare Europe
Hospital Healthcare Europe

HosPilot and intelligent energy efficiency

Jari Hakala, Esa Nyk
28 May, 2013  
The HosPilot methodology makes it possible for technical hospital staff to simulate different refurbishment scenarios, assess their estimated impact and decide the best way and place in which to invest funds
Jari Hakala 
EPSHP – Seinajoki Central Hospital, Finland
Esa Nykänen 
VTT Technical Research Centre, Finland
Erja Reinikainen
Granlund Oy, Finland
HosPilot is a project that is focused on energy efficiency in hospitals. The project was initiated by the European Union (EU) and involves 11 partners (of which three are hospitals in Spain, The Netherlands and Finland) in five European countries. The project belongs to the ICT Policy Support Programme. It commenced in March 2009 and ended in June 2012.
HosPilot demonstrates and assesses high potential energy efficiency improvements in existing hospitals. Existing energy saving technologies can be improved further by adding intelligence to the technical building service systems. Building automation and ICT play a vital role in achieving significant energy reduction in the complex environment of a hospital. 
The main objective of the project was to develop a methodology for analysing the energy efficiency improvements in an existing hospital. This was achieved by identifying the key requirements for hospitals regarding the building itself, its surroundings and usage, and then describing the hospital into a generic methodology addressing the needs and identifying the most energy efficient solution. Existing energy technologies have been grouped together to offer one holistic approach.
The methodology considers energy-saving opportunities in the domain’s lighting, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. The HosPilot methodology makes it possible for the technical hospital staff to simulate different refurbishment scenarios, assess their estimated impact instantly, and therefore decide the best way and place in which to invest money. 
The methodology has been developed by creating three pilot sites in the partner hospitals and by monitoring those pilots over the period of a year. In this way, the methodology and the HosPilot demo tool were improved further and the calculations calibrated based on actual measured savings. 
The methodology energy calculations were also checked against the results of simulations using dynamic calculation tools.
The first step involves the user completing general hospital data. The questions are based on local regulations and local default values, helping the user to complete room data and room requirements easily. The existing HVAC and lighting system and equipment need to be described in a way that facilitates the energy calculation of the existing situation.
According to the hospital needs and its budget, the HosPilot demo tool, developed during the project, offers a set of solutions for different refurbishment scenarios and analyses the estimated impact. The tool takes into account the project boundaries of the hospital, analyses the detailed requirements for each type of room, provides solutions within the existing systems and takes into account the limitations. These elements provide a personalised solution based both on static improvements, such as replacement of light sources, and on dynamic improvements, such as presence detectors. 
Each of the pilot hospitals chose an appropriate renovation area where energy-efficient intelligent technologies were introduced. The aim of the project was to find applications that could be used permanently rather than just in the pilot project. These applications may serve as an example for the rest of the hospital, so that they can be introduced there as well.
The relevant parameters were monitored for 12 months and were contained on a single server where data were charted and analysed. The main aim of this monitoring phase was to prove the results predicted by the HosPilot methodology. 
The pilots have provided valuable data on how often typical rooms are used and how presence detection control can be used to reduce energy use in HVAC and lighting. Also occupant behaviour, for example, opening windows, has been analysed based on the data from the pilots.
The pilot sites
EPSHP hospital, Seinäjoki, Finland
The pilot area in the EPSHP Seinäjoki hospital comprises ward H02 (half of the 0-floor in building H), having a floor area of about 1000m2. This area was compared with ward H01, which is similar in construction and use and also almost equal in size. The pilot area includes patient rooms, corridors, personnel rooms, storage rooms and toilets. The main HVAC systems (air handling units, riser ducts, radiator network piping) were not renovated when the pilot area wards in the H-building were renovated. However, air terminals in supply and extraction, and also radiator valves and water faucets were renovated.
The HVAC system pilot was mainly based on the comparison between selected rooms: some rooms have state-of-the-art equipment, such as variable air volume ventilation, and others have the normal/traditional equipment, such as constant airflow and ordinary thermostatic radiator valves. 
The entire electricity distribution in the H02 area was renovated and state-of–the-art lighting systems, such as LED-tubes and advanced controls (for example, presence detection) were installed. In the state-of-the-art-part H02, the installations include DALI-gateway technology. This area was compared to the other half of the floor (H01) with conventional equipment such as ordinary fluorescent lights and manual on–off lighting switches.
All controlling and monitoring was implemented with room controllers communicating over a LonWorks field bus connected to the hospital building automation system via IP-network. Lighting and HVAC controllers and user interface devices share information, such as room occupancy status, over the LonWorks field bus.
UMCG Hospital, Groningen, The Netherlands
The UMCG is focusing on a number of aspects within the HosPilot project by introducing more efficient and smarter lighting and climate control systems. A number of actions have been completed at two neurology/neurosurgery nursing wards. On the nursing wards, many new sensors were installed; these guarantee the right lighting at the right moment. 
In the UMCG corridor, lighting was installed with more possibilities for dimming and also a new ‘colour’ of light. It uses LON-module technology, connected to the Building Management System (BMS). Thanks to the BMS, different time schedules are defined and lighting is different according to these schedules. Also climate control was improved through the use smarter technologies. 
A new HVAC system was also installed in one department with window sensors, CO2 sensors, radiator valves and air valves. All were connected to a smart box, so the information can be shared. 
Seris Hospital, Logrono, Spain
The hospital HVAC system consists of air-handling units and fan coils as energy-supplying elements. Some rooms with and without energy saving functions were compared. The energy-saving technologies of the fan-coils include occupancy schedules of the rooms, presence detection strategies and window status monitoring. Optimisation of ventilation air delivery controlling the position of dampers and VAV boxes was also piloted, based on presence detection and CO2-control. 
Lighting pilots included the corridor of the third floor and the waiting area for outpatient consultation. There were good possibilities for testing daylight sensors in the rooms with large windows. Because the corridors have two parallel and similar areas, one of them was taken as the pilot area and compared with the other, where no changes to the existing situation were introduced. Replacing luminaires, while at the same time upgrading to the more efficient T5 technology with presence detection controls, was also piloted.
Results from the Finnish site
Before the pilot study commenced, the hospital had implemented a Schneider Electric SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) solution and had gathered HVAC- and electricity-related details for the whole hospital area. Before the HosPilot project, there were limited data on building-specific energy consumption. The energy metering improved greatly during the project (heating energy meters and electricity meters).  
The monitoring in the H-building included totally 254 channels of values (for example, temperature, air flow) and 206 of events (for example, presence sensor). The data in the channels was saved every 10 minutes (data value) or as a timestamp when an event occurred. 
HVAC systems
The more advanced HVAC room level solutions in the HosPilot area included:
  • Radiator water flow control with electronic control valves, based on room air temperature
  • Airflow control (variable air volume; VAV) based on occupancy, room air temperature and room air quality in patient rooms, offices and staff rooms
  • Airflow control (minimum flow/normal flow) based on occupancy in staff rooms
  • Occupancy controlled heating – changing the room temperature setpoint based on occupancy in offices and staff rooms.

The saving potential in the HVAC systems in the EPSHP pilot based on the 12 months of monitoring is:

  • Approximately 15% when using electronic radiator valves compared with ordinary thermostatic radiator valves in patient rooms
  • Approximately 20% when using variable air flow instead of constant airflow in patient rooms
  • Approximately 40–70% when using variable airflow instead of constant airflow in offices
  • Approximately 70% when using variable airflow instead of constant airflow in staff rooms 
  • Approximately 50–70% when using simplified VAV, that is, motor dampers instead of constant airflow in offices
  • Approximately 60% when using simplified VAV, that is, motor dampers instead of constant airflow in staff rooms.
This proves that it is possible to reduce heating consumption significantly in ward renovations by installing intelligent demand-based controls.
For office lighting, the fixtures and lamp types are mainly the same in the HosPilot area and in the reference area. However, some LEDs and advanced controls were installed in the H02 pilot ward. The intelligent lighting controls include:
  • Occupancy and constant illumination level (keeping a set lux-level by controlling the light output) 
  • Occupancy and daylight (based on outdoor lux-level the lights nearest to the window are switched on or off). 
The monitoring period at EPSHP proved that occupant behaviour and the intensity and type of activity in the ward are the dominant factors for the energy consumption. 
The reference wattage for hospitals defined in the new Finnish building code to be used in energy calculations is 9W/m2, which can be multiplied with an average operational factor of 0.6, leading to an average of 5.4W/m2 which is in use 24 hours a day. In the EPSHP H-building the total installed lighting wattage is about 15–17W/m2. Based on the monitoring data, the actual lighting wattage that is in use is significantly lower: for example, in the pilot ward area it is 4–5W/m2 in winter and 2–3W/m2 in the summer. 
Momentary lighting power demand measurements show that when the advanced lighting control is in operation, the power demand is approximately 10% of the maximum designed value. Day-lighting control is efficient from the spring months until autumn when it is light outside almost all night. In the winter months, it is quite dark even during daytime and the need for artificial lighting is greater.
The overall conclusion from the lighting analysis is that occupant behaviour dominates the energy use for lighting. If automatic lighting controls allow manual override, the staff have to be trained to use the lighting in an energy-efficient way.
The piloting gave valuable experience of the different energy saving technologies and also about actual ward activity and user behaviour. The technologies used will be considered in the future renovations of different wards. 
Further reading
Deliverables from the project: 

  • HosPilot_D1.1_State of the art_v4.0 – energy use and energy efficiency in existing hospitals
  • HosPilot_D2.3_Best technical solutions_v3.0 – solutions and technology for energy efficient hospital renovations
  • HosPilot_D4.3_Pilot monitoring and benchmarking for the full monitoring period_v1.0 – description and results of the three pilot hospitals
  • HosPilot_D5.1_Final Methodology_v1.0 – the introduction of the HosPilot tool and its features