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HVAC SYSTEMS Laurier Nichols –Vice President-Expertise (Building), Dessau


Improving energy efficiency via effective HVAC systems


This article will show that it is possible to achieve aseptic indoor air and rigorous ambient conditions by using efficient heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems. It also demonstrates where energy is used and the relative impact of the various energy users.


Compared to the average commercial building – mostly because of their ventilation rates and their continuous occupancy – health care buildings show a consumption of energy that is much higher than the average commercial building. In some cases, it up to five times higher. Knowing all the problems related to global


warming, the design of a new hospital needs to introduce measures to improve energy efficiency.


During a demonstration of building


simulation software made to a group of architects, I asked the following question: What improvement would decrease energy consumption? One architect suggested improving the thermal resistance of the roof.


Reference building Air handling fans: 7%


Heat rejection: 1% Pumps: 3%


Cooling: 3% Humidification: 12% Services: 21%


The objective of my question was actually to demonstrate the misunderstanding of the energy flux in a building. In Canada, building regulations require a relatively high insulation level of the building envelope. Adding insulation to an already well insulated roof will not greatly change the global energy usage. At that demonstration, I showed how a small change in the controls could achieve annual savings of $10,000, while adding insulation to the roof would lead to annual savings of $500. The climate changes associated with the


the average temperature increase of the planet.


emissions, and CO2


increase of fossil energy consumption have been identified by international environmentalists. The average temperature increase of the planet is already a problem for countries located near the equator. It is, therefore, vital that appropriate action is taken, worldwide, to limit the production of greenhouse gases. Improving energy efficiency can play a major role in limiting CO2


is the major cause of Healthcare buildings are in continuous


Lighting: 11% DHW: 6%


Exterior lighting: 0% Equipment: 6%


‘A small change in the controls could achieve an annual $10,000 savings, while adding insulation to the roof would lead to an annual savings of $500.’


operation 24/7, all year-long and this is one of the reasons that energy usage is much higher than that of the average commercial building. A wider schedule of operation will be a key factor in the economic evaluation of energy efficiency measures. What is the annual energy usage of a modern health care center offering all the medical services? How is this energy usage divided among the different mechanical and electrical systems? To answer these questions it is necessary to know what the largest energy users are, and how the energy is distributed in the different services. A designer may know the total energy consumption of a building, but he must also know where he should take action to have the most impact on the improvement of the energy efficiency.


Laurier Nichols


Laurier Nichols is a Mechanical Engineering graduate from Montreal’s École Polytechnique. Through the years, he has completed numerous designs of ventilation, air conditioning and heating systems for institutional, industrial and commercial buildings.


Heating: 30%


He has received over 20 awards from professional associations or public companies (ASHRAE, Hydro-Québec, AQME, OIQ, CCE, CGC, etc) and in 2005 was named ‘Fellow’ of ASHRAE. He is also a certified LEED professional of the US Green Buildings Council (USGBC).


Figure 1: Energy consumption distribution (non-efficient building). 36 IFHE DIGEST 2014


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