Marisa Zylkowski, Sustainable Design Manager
Building Sustainability – Sharing Energy
Did you know buildings have the potential to be a part of the sustainability solution through sharing energy? Instead of being a source of carbon emissions and wasted energy, buildings can achieve carbon neutrality through innovative design.
What is a district energy system?
A district energy system shares energy between spaces that need more heating or cooling. This is done via piped heating water and chilled water between buildings, and piped ambient water (~55° F – 90° F) between sites. This is an efficient way to conserve energy and use all the heat being paid for, versus wasting heat into the atmosphere (which is an important effort to combatting the climate crisis).
Which building type is an ideal candidate?
Hospitals are an ideal candidate for district or shared energy because of their reliable intense mechanical and electrical needs, including simultaneous heating and cooling requirements. Heat will be collected from exhaust air that would typically be discarded into the atmosphere. The heated air will instead be exhausted through heat exchanger coils, transferring the units of heat to water/glycol coils and then used to preheat outside air at the building intakes. Extra heat will then be shared through the piping to additional spaces that need it.
Occupants can breathe easy knowing their air is healthy, from filtered outdoor air, and temperatures maintained through recycled (shared) heat. This district energy system also integrates space cooling and domestic water heating in a similar fashion. The extensive existing pipe network will be used where possible, further reducing our carbon impact.
We’re saving the planet, one building at a time!