Green Construction Provides Lessons Learned
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Managers Take Control of Green HospitalPt. 2: Pervious Paving Saves Water and MoneyPt. 3: Lighting, HVAC, Plumbing Systems Generate SavingsPt. 4: Green Hospital Redefines Maintenance StandardsPt. 5: This Page
Among the lessons learned from the Modesto project is the placement and type of systems installed, particularly HVAC. For example, the Modesto team specified high-pressure boilers. In hindsight, the maintenance and operations staff would have preferred low-pressure boilers because high-pressure systems require a 24-hour attendant. Technicians also have dealt with limited access to certain systems, Claycomb says, leading to valuable lessons learned for future projects.
“We’ve done lessons learned on a continual basis,” Claycomb says. “They have passed these things on to the newer facilities to try to head off some of the problems that we had. My understanding is they are moving forward with the lessons learned and correcting.”
Despite the maintenance challenges, the design and construction team avoided other potential issues by consulting with maintenance and operations staff while the contractor was installing equipment.
“There were quite a few things they were able to change to make it more user-friendly,” says Ed Davis, the medical center’s chief engineer. “They listened to us quite a bit. They made quite a few changes.”
The hospital has been open for only about four months, so the savings in energy use and utility costs have yet to be determined.
“It’s still a brand-new model we’re trying to figure out and trying to work out the logistical bugs, if you will,” says Ed Gonzales, Modesto’s facilities service director. “Within the next year, maybe two, we’ll have a much better idea of overall savings and overall functionality of the facility.”
The maintenance and operations staff also has faced many of the same challenges departments do when taking over a new hospital, such as entering the information that comprises the hospital’s preventive maintenance database. But overall, the staff has had a positive experience taking over one of the most environmentally responsible hospitals in the country.
Says Claycomb, “I haven’t seen too many disadvantages to our greenness here. I haven’t seen anything that just didn’t work. It’s been kind of neat to work with and kind of neat to see being built. Every bit that I’ve seen so far all seems like there’s been a savings one way or another.”