Critical power: Hospital electrical systems

Thursday, September 15, 2016, at 11 a.m. PT/1 p.m. CT/2 p.m. ET
1 AIA CES accredited LU and 1 HSW credit available for attendees

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Hospital electrical and power systems include both patient care rooms—operating rooms, intensive care units, and more—and general building areas—offices, lobbies, and so on. Hospital electrical system design must accommodate every area, and include lighting and the entire electrical infrastructure. 

Designing hospital electrical systems is more demanding than for conventional commercial buildings because the stakes are so high. The differences lie primarily in the size and complexity of the electrical systems: the overall size of the electrical system, its need for a higher level of flexibility, enhanced needs for separate branches of essential (emergency) power so that the facility can remain operational for longer durations, and for enhanced safety in the health care environment.

When specifying electrical distribution systems in hospitals, engineers must account for the facility’s size, flexibility needs, medical equipment and procedure types, essential (emergency) power needs, and safety requirements. They must design and coordinate electrical protection for all branches and the equipment fed by them. In addition, they must consider whether to apply isolated power systems. 

Learning objectives:

  • Explain the applicable codes and standards: NFPA 70: National Electrical Code, Article 517; NFPA 99: Health Care Facilities Code; NFPA 110: Standard for Emergency and Standby Power Systems; and various hospital accrediting agencies.
  • Assess the unique electrical system requirements of hospitals including those for patient care and nonpatient areas.
  • Analyze and compare the differences between emergency and essential power, connected load and demand load, the branches of the emergency power supply system (EPSS), and the types of equipment associated with each branch.
  • Outline backup, standby, and emergency power systems for hospitals versus other building types.
  • Highlight recommended best practices such as ASHE Handbook for Electrical Systems and IEEE White Book. 


  • Danna Jensen, PE, LEED AP BD+C, vice president, ccrd, a WSP Co., Dallas
  • Robert R. Jones Jr., PE, LEED AP, JBA Consulting Engineers, Las Vegas

Moderator: Jack Smith, Consulting-Specifying Engineer, Pure Power, and CFE Media, LLC

Sponsors: ASCO, Cummins Power Generation, Generac Industrial Power

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