Leach Wallace Associates Inc.: University of Maryland Medical System,Capital Region Medical Center

Automation, controls; electrical, power; energy, sustainability; fire, life safety; HVAC, mechanical; lighting; plumbing, piping; health care facility; and new construction

By Leach Wallace Associates Inc. August 9, 2018

Engineering firm: Leach Wallace Associates Inc.

2018 MEP Giants rank: 55

Project: University of Maryland Medical System,Capital Region Medical Center

Location: Largo, MD, United States

Building type: Hospital/health care facility

Project type: New construction

Engineering services: Automation, controls; electrical, power; energy, sustainability; fire, life safety; HVAC, mechanical; lighting; and plumbing, piping

Project timeline: November 2014 to December 2020MEP/FP budget:$3,271,000


1. Meeting the State of Maryland Certificate of Need requirements for overall square footage of the facility: State had a very strict allowance of overall square footageallowed per patient bed.As a result, creativity was needed to minimize mechanical andelectrical space.

2. Meeting energy code and LEED Silver requirements: A hospital presents many design challenges based upon ventilation and air change requirements and increased filter requirements that are not required for typical commercial construction,which can lead to greater energy use than allowable by code. Designing to meet the codes and for a LEED Silver rating was a challenge due to the critical spaces within the hospital.

3. Planning for future expansion of hospital: The building had a well-definedfuture expansion plan that had to be taken into account during the design of the building.The MEP infrastructure was designed for maximum flexibility for expansion.


1. After reviewing the requirements for overall square footage of the hospital, Leach Wallace Associates found The State of Maryland would not include the square footage of the central utility plant (CUP) if it was constructed off site in a prefabricated arrangement.Theteam designed a custom prefabricated CUP that was bid by vendors who would construct the entire building, equipment, and piping in sections at the factory, which will be re-assembled on site.This allowed a reduction of approximately 40,000 sq ftfrom the overall building footprint, which brought the building into conformance with the Maryland State requirements.

2. The mechanical and electrical systems design featured many energy-saving components such as:

a. The chiller plant was designed with a series, counter-flow arrangement with redundant chillers for plant optimization to operate in the highest efficiency range of the chillers (approximately 30% to70% load on each chiller)

b. A combined heat and power (CHP) generator was utilized to curtail the electric load and to provide "free"heating for the base load of the facility.The CHP is designed to operate approximately 8,000 hours per year and is anticipated to save over $500,000 per year in energy costs.

c. Air handling unit components (filters, coils) and system ductwork were designed at low velocities to minimize overall static pressure loss in the system,which saved overall fan energy.

d. Air handling units utilized total energy heat recovery wheels to exchange both sensible and latent load from the exhaust air to the outside air

e. LED lighting was used throughout the building with programmable occupant controls to save energy during times the spaces are not occupied.

3. The future expansion of the hospital needed to be taken into account when laying out the CUPand other major mechanical and electrical infrastructure systems and whendesigning the infrastructure from the CUP to the hospital.The chiller plant and boiler plant were designed with future space to allow for additional equipment to be provided at a later date when the expansion was constructed.Because the CUP is located remote from the main hospital buildings, the piping systems from the CUP to the main building were sized for the future expansion.Piping was extended to key locations within the building for future growth andshut-off valves provided to allow for easy connection in the future.The electrical infrastructure was also sized for future expansion, with switchgear capable of future connections or added vertical sections.The paralleling switchgear was also sized for expansion, with spare cubicles ready to accept additional generators as required to handle the future load.It was a challenge to incorporate these provisions for future growth, while maintaining the construction budget and minimizing space.