Designing an HVAC system for a hospital can be complicated. Not only must the equipment run 24/7, but it must also provide precise temperature and humidity control in order to keep critically ill patients comfortable and sensitive medical equipment operating correctly. While traditional hospital HVAC systems often consist of chillers and boilers, other types of equipment are becoming more widely accepted in the health care market, including variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems, air curtains, and geothermal heat pumps. All are designed to improve comfort and, as an added bonus, save energy.
Shortly after Choctaw General Hospital, Butler, Alabama, was completed in 2012, it became apparent that more room was necessary, so a 44,000-square-foot addition was built to house the patient care section. For this new part of the hospital, administrators chose a VRF system from Mitsubishi Electric US Cooling and Heating Division, mainly because they liked its zoning capability. Having used VRF technology in other facilities, administrators knew patients would appreciate the individualized comfort offered by the system while facility engineers would welcome the lower energy bills during the peak summer and winter months.