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Medical Center Goes Green for Expansion and Renovation

Saturday, January 16, 2010 General News J E 4
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MIDLAND, Mich., Jan. 15 Long before the groundbreaking late in 2007, energy efficiency and environmental sustainability were in the plans for the $115-million expansion and renovation now under construction at MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland.

As work progresses on the 280,000-square-foot project, containing new operating rooms, private patient rooms, and a new atrium style entrance and lobby, systems now being installed will provide long-term cost savings and minimize the environmental footprint over the life of the building.

"We knew we had to make dozens of separate decisions right the first time," said Mike Erickson, vice president of facilities and construction for MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland. "It would be cost-prohibitive, difficult or impossible to retrofit these kinds of building systems after the fact, and we felt they would be even more important in the future than they are today."

Designed by HDR Architecture, Inc. of Chicago, the project calls on design and building standards from the U.S. Green Building Council's program for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDŪ). "Green design" focuses on sustainable site planning, safeguarding water and water efficiency, energy efficiency and renewable energy, conservation of materials and resources and indoor environmental quality.

Indoor air quality

The building's air quality system is a particularly forward-thinking feature. While its job is to control infection and keep the building's air healthy and comfortable, energy savings and reduced maintenance come along with the package. Contracted by Ingenuity IEQ of Midland, the system is based on a Genesis Air System and Theris(TM) airflow control valves by Phoenix Controls Corporation. The Theris valves, designed specifically to ventilate operating rooms, also feature energy savings and reduced maintenance.

A three-stage germicidal and air cleaning process eliminates large particles, volatile organic compounds, mold, bacteria and viruses from the air inside the operating rooms. The high-capacity system neutralizes contaminants and converts any hazardous biological and chemical pollutants into harmless compounds. Inside a filter, it reacts to UV light with a titanium dioxide coating to create a "cloud" that purifies air passing through it.

In addition, each of the operating rooms will also feature a room pressure monitor so that the air pressure inside the room can be adjusted according to whether it is occupied, unoccupied or being cleaned.

Air handling equipment for the system was custom manufactured by TMI Custom Air Systems of Holly, Mich. The air-exchange system uses multiple smaller fans, which run more efficiently than fewer large ones and offer built-in back-up for greater reliability.

"We believe we will be the only Medical Center in the area with this level of air filtration for the operating rooms," said Erickson. "Along with all private patient rooms, this high level of air filtration will really help increase the margin of safety against infections."

Windows insulate like walls

Building standards require daylight in patient rooms, but the expansion and renovation goes above and beyond the standard here for natural light, too.

"The custom-produced glazing allows for beautiful wooded views and natural light with an R-30 insulation value, a level you'd expect from a well-insulated wall," said Erickson. "The windows are also specially designed to eliminate glare and reduce heat build-up, an important feature for the south-facing portion of the tower. All these features will reduce heating and air conditioning requirements."

Power plant can expand

Energy reduction for heating and air conditioning is also part of the project. The Medical Center, including the new addition, will be heated and cooled by an energy-efficient power plant. In the years to come, its design will enable expansion. Eventually, it will heat, cool and circulate air throughout the entire Medical Center, and will do so using less energy than the existing power plant in use today.

No compromises

"It's exciting that, while keeping patient safety and comfort in the forefront, we've been able to build a facility that balances long term and immediate needs," said Erickson. "We'll be able to reduce the impact environmentally and financially, while we continue to deliver the best care for our patients... without compromise."

The various areas of the expansion project will be opened in stages with the six new operating rooms scheduled to open first in December 2010. All construction is scheduled for completion in 2012. Those interested in more information on the expansion, including a project overview and virtual tour, may visit www.midmichigan.org/construction.

SOURCE MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland
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