University Health Network (UHN) is a research hospital located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada which operates four major hospitals: Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto General Hospital, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. In need of additional research space, UHN leased the 400,000 sqft Toronto Medical Discovery Tower (TMDT) located in the MaRS Discovery District, which consisted of lab and office space. Labs are known for being one of the most energy intensive spaces to operate thanks to the large amount of outside air being continuously exhausted through the research space, even when the environment is perfectly clean. With lab space occupying a vast
amount of the square footage of the building, optimizing the ventilation was the perfect opportunity to greatly reduce costs. The labs were in 24/7 operation so installation of the chosen energy conversation measure needed to be discrete and not disrupt the research taking place. Through the help of local channel partner, AirGenuity, Aircuity was identified as the best solution and an airside program was developed to optimize the ventilation throughout the building.
When the project first began, the lab spaces were running at 12 air change rates per hour (ACH) and a study found that the building was exhausting enough air to fill a Goodyear blimp
every minute! Aircuity enabled the beginning ACH of 12 to be reduced to a baseline of 3–4 ACH, which increases when additional fresh air is needed. At the start, Aircuity was implemented on three floors of the building. A reduction in supply air and yet fully managed ventilation was established on each floor and soon after the solution was installed in the remaining spaces.
“Creating sustainable research programs must be supported through the creation of sustainable research labs", said
Ian McDermott, Senior Director of Research Planning and Safety at University Health Network. "Keeping staff safe by measuring the quality of air is far better than assuming enough air exchange is doing the job. Having a sustainable air management system while ensuring safety and reducing our environmental impact is the greatest success of this project.”
Once fully implemented the Aircuity program began to make immediate impact. Based on four months of UHN’s data, kWh was reduced by 744,000, and based on 6 months of owner data, UHN reduced its steam usage by 36M lbs (degree day corrected).
Today the research institute is saving approximately $800,000 annually in utility costs. As a result, more of University Health Network’s funding is freed up and can be directed back into research.