Prof. Jorge Saraiva
Innovative Energy Systems for Central Hospitals in Portugal: A legal opportunity
The Portuguese Government identified, a few years ago, the need to build several central hospitals around the country, since the existing healthcare infrastructure is old.
The design of the new hospitals is complex as it must satisfy multiple aspects concerning the architecture and the equipment to be installed while maximising the efficiency of the whole system, namely minimising energy consumptions, waste production and containing pollution without compromising their ultimate function (the patients). The final compromise is quite unique if one considers that the areas involved are on the order of 100000 m2 and that the peak power is, generally, well over 10 MW.
The paper presents the energy matrix for one of the projects of these charismatic buildings and the energy solutions well-thought-out that consider the best cost-benefit (including environmental) relation weighting not only the needs but also the laws that frame the development, the operation and the maintenance of these major infrastructures.
The heart of the energy system is a gas operated tri-generation unit (electricity together with cold and hot water for the HVAC systems as well as sanitary hot water) complemented with a couple of chillers and boilers and provided with an ice bank.
To implement the system, it was necessary to observe the Portuguese cogeneration laws and the guidelines from the Health Agency.
The skin is an envelope where passive solar energy is a must in what concerns insulation, solar gains and the use of natural light. In the design, the thermal characteristics of the envelope must comply the national regulation attached to the transposition of the European EPBD Directive.
The internal exchange system of the building comprises active cooling beams in all patient rooms and more conventional solutions (fan coil units) for other rooms.
Both envelope and energy equipment and systems must be certified by the Energy Agency.
Financing new central hospitals demands Public-Private Partnerships, and therefore public procurement legislation and proceedings must be attended. So private financing and construction companies or consortia not only have to observe and conform to highly demanding technical design building requirements but also to offer the best (financial and economic) conditions and assure both the national interests and their profit margin weighting they are to receive a 30 years rent and be responsible for the M&O of the premises for that time. A well designed and innovative energy system, attending to the legal (and tax) requirements and opportunities (such as producing and selling energy), is an important piece for success.
The questions relating to energy, namely related with different types of consumption, final use, generation (sources), back up and even storage must then be considered as well as the correspondent emissions, the commerce and the final consumption so that central hospitals can, at the end, be themselves examples for the community as “healthy” buildings; for instance they must be rated at A or even A+ class in what concerns the energy certificate.
After all, healthy and energy sustainable hospitals ensure a healthier environment and so a healthier society.
Central hospitals; energy regulation; energy efficiency; energy systems; trigeneration