North Island Hospitals Project leading the way in energy conservation and carbon emission reductions

The two new hospitals currently under construction in Campbell River and the Comox Valley set new standards in energy usage and carbon emission reductions and exemplify how we can reduce our carbon footprint in a built environment, according to Health Minister Terry Lake.

“The new hospitals in Campbell River and Comox Valley will not only be leaders when it comes to providing the highest level of patient-centred care, they will be global trailblazers with their environmentally-friendly footprint,” Lake said an Island Health press release. “These facilities are going to serve as models when other hospitals are planned in the future.”

“Congratulations to Island Health, BC Hydro, FortisBC and your construction partners,” said Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett. “Working together on the new hospitals in Campbell River and the Comox Valley you have achieved efficiencies that will reduce energy use, save money, and lower greenhouse gas emissions.”

The new Campbell River and Comox Valley hospitals are designed to be the most energy efficient in the province and will be among the most efficient hospitals in the world, accroding to the Island Health press release. The hospitals will use roughly half the energy of the existing hospitals per square metre. In addition, green-house gas (GHG) emissions will be 73 per cent lower.  The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act calls for an 80 per cent reduction from 2007 levels by 2050. The new hospitals serve as a model for other hospitals to meet and beat.

“People in Central and North Island are looking forward to the new hospitals opening their doors and offering quality care to those in need,” said Comox Valley MLA Don McRae. “I also know they will be proud of the fact that health care facilities in their own backyard will be known as world leaders when it comes to the environment.”

“Island Health is committed to caring for patients and the environment,” said Island Health Board Chair Don Hubbard. “This means working together to reduce our carbon emissions and improve energy efficiencies while delivering excellent care. Our green-house gas reductions will be equivalent to taking 378 cars off the road permanently.”

This performance is a direct result of Island Health’s energy management team setting tough energy and GHG emissions targets, as well as the province’s commitment in 2007 that all new public sector buildings are to be built to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification.

BC Hydro and FortisBC have also helped achieve this level of performance by supporting Island Health’s energy management program. In addition, BC Hydro’s New Construction Program provides funding for evaluating energy efficient measures as well as capital incentives towards the cost of implementation. Island Health has secured agreements with BC Hydro and FortisBC worth more than $1.7 million, by far the largest single project commitment Island Health has ever received.

“Our conservation and energy management programs help residential, commercial and industrial customers keep energy costs low,” said Stephen Hobson, Director of Conservation and Energy Management, BC Hydro. “In 2015, BC Hydro helped fund 58 energy managers in public sector organizations.”

The most significant design feature for both hospitals that results in substantially lowered GHG emissions is the heating plants. Most of the thermal energy that is needed to keep the buildings warm and produce hot water comes from each building’s own exhaust air.

The technology is the same as what many homeowners use; a heat pump, except in this case the heat pumps will extract energy from the building exhaust so the systems can run at full capacity no matter how cold it gets outside. Gas-fired condensing boilers provide top-up energy when the heat pumps can’t quite deliver enough heat.

Island Health’s $606.2 million North Island Hospitals Project includes a new $331.7 million, 153-bed Comox Valley Hospital in Courtenay on Lerwick Road, and a new $274.5 million, 95-bed Campbell River Hospital on the existing hospital site at 375 – 2nd Avenue. Both hospitals are scheduled to open by late 2017.