Firm name: IBE Consulting Engineers
Project building name and location: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Advanced Health Sciences Pavilion, Los Angeles, Calif.
Type of building and type of project: Hospital, New Construction
Project completion date and project duration: 2013
Engineering challenges and solutions:
One of the first challenges was to design the MEP systems for flexibility. The systems were designed to allow the owner to be able to swap departments and floors within the building without major reconfigurations. The second challenge was to provide thermally comfortable environment for the occupants in accordance with ASHRAE standard 55, 2004 and at the same time consume the least amount of energy.
Solutions to the Above Challenges:
The solution to the flexibility request was to design the MEP systems with ducts, pipes, and electrical risers sized throughout the building to allow for floors to hold many functions. This required a complete understanding of how the overall building was to function and at the same time understand how each space was to be operated. IBE worked closely with Cedars Sinai staff to ensure future maintenance issues could be resolved, even when spaces were reconfigured. Life safety could never be compromised even if a floor were to be reconfigured.
To solve the second challenge, the east façade of the building was specifically designed to control the inside surface temperature of the glass in order to control space conditions to provide occupant thermal comfort. The design allowed the architects to design a façade with a high window-to-wall ratio that would also provide more opportunities for natural daylighting without glare, which would reduce energy consumption. The south and west façades had high-performance glass that was highly scrutinized for performance by the IBE team to ensure thermal comfort limits were not exceeded.
One challenge of thermal comfort design that IBE Consulting Engineers have tackled over the years is how to reduce the amount of energy required to maintain space conditions. The operative space temperature is controlled by the mean radiant temperature and the space dry bulb temperature. By carefully balancing these two, the space is controlled between thermal comfort limits, which can lead to a reduction in energy consumption as the conditioning system works in harmony with the environment. The overall energy consumption of the building has been simulated to be 24% lower than ASHRAE standard 90.1, 2007.