What Makes Walton Green?
Walton Rehabilitation Health System, like many organizations around the country, is joining the efforts to be environmentally friendly by engaging in an effort to "go green."
Read about our efforts to create a green environment in our hospital setting.
Private Room Project
In April 2008, Walton started the CVA Private Room Project. Before we began, it became obvious that we had two major areas that were ideal for green energy solutions.
The area was cool in the summer and warm in the winter, but the roof was deteriorating and needed to be replaced. In addition, the HVAC system was ancient, inefficient and no longer met the air quality standards needed for patient care areas. While replacing these items would be costly, we knew that by incorporating "green" concepts into them would create substantial savings.
1. Roof: The roof can be the least energy efficient component of a building envelope. The existing roof was a black EPDM roof system. We replaced it with a white environmentally friendly TPO roofing system. Instead of absorbing the heat, its light surface reflects the sunlight. This type of roof, unlike its predecessor also does not contain chlorine or chlorine containing ingredients and has a strong resistance to UV radiation which exceeds the EPA Energy Star requirements and makes this product an environmentally safe green product.
By lowering the surface temperature of the roof, we are able to decrease the amount of heat transferred into our building, thus reducing the need for air conditioning and /or heating during peak periods, resulting in significant savings in utility bills.
Heating and cooling cost is a major expense associated with the operation of our hospital. Therefore any reduction of these costs through the use of energy efficient building materials and components make sense.
2. The HVAC system: HVAC systems required in healthcare facilities are far more complex than in standard office buildings. Our low efficiency, single speed, pneumatically controlled 18 year old air handling unit (AHU) was replaced with a new high efficient, variable speed, digitally controlled unit with high efficiency filters and the capacity to ensure the required fresh air exchanges, humidity and other infection control issues are addressed and maintained.
3. BACnet Technology: An added value feature of this project is the BACnet automatic controller (ABC). The ABC is Walton's first step to sustainable, flexible, and affordable green solutions. First we tied the new AHU to the ABC unit. The next step was a change order. The change order stated that we wanted BACnet controls on each of the 18 new VAV boxes, replacing the pneumatic VAV boxes specified in the CVA Renovation Contract. These 18 reheat control boxes were also tied into the ABC system with their own inputs to measure and outputs to control the environment. Next on the list is the chiller.
We now have the technology to control our choices. After the chiller, we will chose from a variety of BACnet control units, retrofits for the remainder of the hospital's existing HVAC components. BACnet technology provides the ideal flexibility when integrating several pieces of equipment, from various vendors. We plan to always specify BATnet controls on all future equipment as we upgrade our infrastructure. This new system will also allow us to tie in other energy consuming devices.
Going green is a path we have chosen for our future. This first application allows us fast and easy integration of hospital devices and systems. Web-based internet technology will allow us access to this and future building controls from our homes, eliminating costly after hour call-ins as future applications also will help Walton Community Services to control expenses at our satellite locations.