Health care has been in the news a lot lately, and while the focus has naturally been on issues of cost control and quality of service for the average citizen, the facilities that handle patients have been quietly improving services and reducing costs by focusing on power quality, reliability, and the benefits of onsite power.
Last month, the Shands Cancer Hospital at the University of Florida (UF), unveiled a new 500,000 square-foot, 192 bed cancer and critical care facility. The Shands Cancer Hospital and Shands Critical Care Center at UF was designed as “a home where expertise and care come together,” says Dr. Michael Good, interim dean of the UF College of Medicine. And while the new facilities are designed to supply patients with state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic care, the buildings will also offer emergency and trauma services.
Some of building’s highlights include:
* A surgical intensive care unit, a bone marrow transplant unit, a stem-cell lab and 12 high-tech operating rooms—all designed “to accommodate anticipated evolutions in robotics and 3D imaging”
* A full-spectrum radiology department featuring a $2.5-million CT scanner—making it one of only a handful of health centers in the country thus equipped
* Specialized lighting including remotes. so that patients can make their own adjustments to the lights and window shades
Of course, for those of us focused on distributed energy, the LEED friendly design is particularly interesting. The $388-million building was constructed with an eye towards LEED certification, making it one of the newest environmentally friendly medical facilities in the country. Some of the facility’s “sustainability features” include reclaimed water, insulated glass windows, and heat-reflecting rooftops—accoutrements that certainly quality the hospital as a “smart” building. Then there’s the GRU South Energy Center’s onsite power, which will provide the hospital with 100% of it’s energy needs, including uninterrupted power to the hospital, and allow it to operate independent of the grid—saving about 27-million kW of electricity per year.
So what do you think? Should any and all new medical facilities take a similar approach? Do hospitals provide the perfect environment for distributed energy with their need to keep costs down and dependence on back up for mission-critical responsibilities? And can the onsite power systems being developed for hospitals be modified to fit other sites and situations?