Niagara region hospital efficient in water and energy

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The 89,187-m2 (960,000-sf) St. Catharines Hospital and Walker Family Cancer Centre, features numerous energy-efficient design elements. Photos courtesy B+H Architects

Jointly designed by B+H Architects and Silver Thomas Hanley under Ontario’s Alternative Finance and Procurement (AFP) project model, the St. Catharines Hospital and Walker Family Cancer Centre has earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification.

Plenary Health was selected by Infrastructure Ontario (IO) to design, build, finance, and maintain the St. Catherines facility, which is part of the Niagara Healthcare System (NHS). The 375-bed hospital consolidates acute and ambulatory services on one site for the residents in the surrounding area. Further, the location provides new programs and services such as cardiac catheterization, cancer treatment, and longer-term mental health services.

The 89,187-m2 (960,000-sf) complex, which opened in 2013, features numerous energy-efficient design elements, including a high-performance building envelope and a white roof that reduces heat island effect, keeping the interior temperature cooler in the summer (reducing air-conditioning costs) and warmer in the winter.

Glazing on the centre’s exterior allows natural daylight into the facility, reducing energy consumption. The hospital has earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification.
Glazing on the centre’s exterior allows natural daylight into the facility, reducing energy consumption. The hospital has earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification.

Additionally, the boilers were replaced and ventilation system improved to better regulate temperature and improve air flow. Thermal wheels are used in the building to capture and harness heat being expelled through the system. Cold, outside air is heated and drawn into the building through a recovery system, reducing the load on the HVAC system.

While efficient lighting assemblies are in place, glazing on the building’s exterior permits extensive daylighting for a reduction in energy consumption. Patient and treatment areas feature high-efficiency thermal windows.

Water usage was also reduced by more than 20 per cent with the inclusion of water-efficient, low-flow plumbing fixtures. A water-efficient landscaping design halves the potable water used for irrigation thanks to high-efficiency technology and drought-tolerant plants.

“By using less energy and water, LEED-certified buildings reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and contribute to a healthier environment for patients, staff, and the wider community,” said Amir Gill, NHS regional director of capital planning, engineering and biomedical engineering.

These power-saving features are also expected to reduce energy consumption by up to 29 per cent, compared to similar hospital facilities. Additionally, 15 per cent of construction materials specified throughout the project contain recycled content, and 20 per cent were locally sourced.

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