Project Highlights

Price Products Used:

  • ACBL-HE Linear High Efficency Active Beam
  • ACBLS Custom Linear Beam

Project Type:  Healthcare, Renovation

Project Cost:  $7 Million

Year Completed:  May 2012

Square Footage:  36,000

Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center

Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center (MHHCC) opened in 1951 in Jasper, Indiana, and is widely regarded as one of the finest general hospitals in the state. As a regional health center, the staff provides comprehensive medical care for residents of Dubois and surrounding counties. Over 60 years later, the Center employs more than 1,400 people, including 60 physicians.

In 2009, MHHCC completed renovation of a pharmacy that had restricted interstitial space due to low floor-to-floor heights. Price active beams proved to be the ideal solution for handling the ventilation, occupant comfort, and thermal load requirements, while still providing energy savings to the space.

Due to the success of this project, the design team decided to use Price high performing beams for two renovated patient wings in the floors above the pharmacy. This put the hospital on the forefront of the healthcare industry in terms of HVAC design, as ASHRAE Standard 170 had only approved chilled beams for use in patient rooms in early 2011.

The Challenge

The patient wings, which were originally constructed in 1971, have restricted interstitial space due to tight floor-to-floor heights, and relied on perimeter fan coil units for heating and cooling. The design team was mindful of these restrictions, and identified several opportunities to improve energy efficiency. Price chilled beams had already been effectively utilized in adjacent areas, and the engineering firm planned to implement this efficient and well-received design approach on the two adjoining floors.

While one floor was part of an observation unit, the second floor was being used to accommodate geriatric psychiatric patients. Psychiatric centers typically require a security diffuser solution to restrict occupant access to the ductwork. In these spaces, a standard chilled beam would not be appropriate, as the interior of the beam is easily accessible.

Instead, a Price security chilled beam would need to be utilized. This beam has a heavy gauge security face that prevents patients from accessing ductwork, while still facilitating energy savings and occupant thermal comfort.

Design Team Profile

BSA LifeStructures

BSA LifeStructures is an architectural and engineering firm with locations in Indianapolis, St. Louis, Austin and Chicago. They design facilities that support, enhance and inspire healing, learning and discovery – facilities that are lifestructures. With a balanced blend of inspired creativity, evidence-based design and over 35 years of experience, BSA LifeStructures has created facilities for some of the nation’s top healthcare, higher education and research institutions. These multidisciplinary efforts achieve measurable outcomes through metrics-driven design solutions.

Price Solution

Installing beams in the patient rooms allowed the engineers to use 100% outside air. By combining the active chilled beams with a Dedicated Outdoor Air System (DOAS), the design team was able to reduce the volume of primary air supplied to the space by 30% to 60% when compared to a conventional overhead mixed air system. The lower amount of required recirculated air and reheat energy resulted in significant operating cost savings. This is particularly relevant to healthcare spaces, where the air system is typically constant volume.

The beam system also greatly reduced the risk of airborne infection, as the return air from multiple spaces was no longer being mixed with the fresh air supply like in a traditional system.

While the facility maintenance team was initially wary about condensation, these concerns were easily addressed by the engineer. Even though this was a retrofit project, the risk of condensation could be minimized by sizing the airside system to meet the latent load and outside air ventilation requirements. As long as the humidity levels are controlled, and the supply water temperature is maintained above the dew point temperature of the space, condensation from a chilled beam is no greater a concern than it is when using a conventional all-air system.

The maintenance team's confidence was further increased by implementing a monitoring strategy that included condensation sensors in areas where beams were being used.

Price manufactures a complete line of maximum security, risk resistant grilles, and this design experience was applied when engineering the active chilled security beam.

The security beam features the same perforated face used on Price maximum security grilles, which prevents patients from hiding contraband or injuring themselves. This alteration caused the security beam to perform slightly different from a standard active beam. However, minor modifications to the airflow and water flow rates enabled the beam to meet the capacity requirements of the space.

The active security beam was developed at Price Research Center North (PRCN) in Winnipeg, Canada, which houses the Price Hydronic Test Chamber, the most advanced radiant testing facility in North America. In addition to facilitating rapid product development, Price uses the chamber to perform mockups of radiant products and chilled beams. These mock-ups enable Price to publish performance data under a variety of test configurations and conditions.

Beams provide the additional benefit of being easier to clean than most HVAC systems, as the coils only need to be inspected every two to five years.

With this installation, Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center became one of the first hospitals in the United States to employ active beams in patient rooms. In all, beams were installed in approximately 27 patient rooms across the two departments, and the system has been running successfully since May 2012.

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