Project profile: Medical research facility energy efficiency upgrade

At McGill University, about 80% of the HVAC installations were replaced in order to meet the new requirements.


McIntyre Pavilion. Courtesy: Dessau.

Project name: McGill University Faculty of Medicine's McIntyre Pavilion

Project type: System overhaul

Engineering Firm:

Building type: Educational facilities

Location: Montreal, Canada

Timeline: September 2009 - June 2011

Building details

Part of the McGill University's Faculty of Medicine is a 16-story, 32,300 sq ft circular-shaped building. Nestled on the southern slope of Montreal's Mount Royal, McIntyre Pavilion is a medical research and teaching facility hosted research laboratories in a number of fields, including oncology, pharmacology, biochemistry, and infectious diseases. The design team developed models for the building and its electromechanical systems using DOE2.1e simulation software to precisely map out the energy savings and feasibility of the proposed solutions. A new design was developed, including heat recovery chillers, run-around loop, low-temperature heating loops, frequency drives, variable fresh air supply controlled by interior air quality, sophisticated air valves and detectors in the new laboratory fume hoods, and efficient lighting design to increase energy efficiency of the building.

Laboratories. Courtesy: DessauProject details

The building was in need of major renovations (budget of $25 million) in order to meet the current needs of McGill's Faculty of Medicine. In addition to replacing the McIntyre Pavilion's electromechanical infrastructure, Dessau's mandate included upgrading building facilities to meet current bio-safety standards, in particular the laboratories in the Infectious Diseases and Biochemistry departments. About 80% of the HVAC installations were replaced in order to meet the new requirements and to eliminate the decrepit systems. For satisfying the air changes per hour (ACH) requirements, the overall outside air flow had to be increased by 150%, requiring an additional capacity of 120,000 acm. One of the project's greatest challenges involved modifying the electromechanical systems of the working laboratories without disrupting academic activities or scientific experiments, which often run on a 24/7 schedule.

Chilled water pumps. Courtesy: Dessau.Project results

The performance of all these new innovative system generates recurring energy savings of 18,000,000 kWh, compared to a standard electromechanical system without energy recovery components. Despite a major increase in fresh air supply (120,000 cfm), overall consumption was reduced by 14% which represents a reduction of 43 % when compared to a project without energy efficiency measures. The energy consumption reduction represents more than $700,000 of annual savings for the university. This project reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 4,670 tons a year. 

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