Leo A Daly: Sidney Regional Medical Center

Automation, controls; electrical, power; fire, life safety; HVAC, mechanical; plumbing, piping.

By LEO A DALY August 11, 2016

Engineering firm: Leo A Daly

2016 MEP Giants rank: 22

Project: Sidney Regional Medical Center

Location: Sidney, Neb.

Building type: Hospital/health care facility

Project type: New construction

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

Project timeline: May 2014 to October 2015

MEP/FP budget: $15.2 million


Sidney Regional Medical Center (SRMC) in Sidney, Neb., is located 170 miles from the nearest major metropolitan area in Denver. Engineering for a remote location in a rural community presented numerous challenges. With maintenance and servicing equipment more than 2.5 hours away, serious consideration was given to the types and even brands of equipment to be installed to minimize downtime, cost, and serviceability in the case of equipment failure.


Engineers collaborated with SRMC owners and facilities personnel to select systems that would be easy to maintain as well as have built-in redundancy. Consultations with the client included specifications for preferred manufacturers that could provide reliable service agreements to the rural hospital.

For example, the boiler system specified was engineered with 100% redundancy. High-efficiency, hot-water, natural-gas-only condensing boilers were installed with backup standard-efficiency boilers featuring dual-fuel capacity (natural gas and fuel oil) in case of emergencies. A centralized steam system was not provided at the hospital due to the increased complexity and maintenance requirements of steam systems. To eliminate a central steam system, the design engineer coordinated with equipment suppliers to ensure sterilization equipment was provided with self-contained electric steam generation and natural-gas-fired humidifiers were used for building humidification. In a similar fashion, the chilled-water system was designed with partial redundancy. Multiple air-cooled screw compressor chillers were used so only a percentage of the cooling load would be lost if a single unit failed. The chillers were located indoors at the central utility plant with remote air-cooled condensers located on the roof above. Using remote condensers eliminated the need for glycol protection within the chilled-water system for freeze protection; the majority of the equipment servicing could be conducted indoors at the central plant. Using an air-cooled chilled-water system in place of a water-cooled system also eliminated the maintenance requirements for cooling towers and condenser-water pumps. The air-cooled system will also save on water usage for the facility as compared with a water-cooled system. Air handling units use direct-drive fan arrays. In this manner, redundancy is supplied and less maintenance is required versus belt-drive systems.

The client conducted interviews with control system manufacturers to ensure the correct system was selected for SRMC’s needs. Again, due to SRMC’s remote location, the client required assurance that the system specified would have an adequate remote-support capability from the controls provider, and the interview process provided the client with a level of comfort about the equipment to be provided.