The Rush Infirmary started with 18 beds and a revolutionary bone pinning procedure that not only placed it in the annals of medical history, but also propelled the single facility to great success, eventually leading to the establishment of Rush Health Systems (RHS). Serving the residents of eastern Mississippi and western Alabama, RHS consists of Rush Foundation Hospital; two critical access hospitals; one long-term, acute care hospital; a nursing center; a home-health agency; and 27 family medical clinics.
Connected by over-the-street enclosed walkways, the Rush Health Systems complex in downtown Meridian, Miss., is housed in four major structures covering 1.2 million square feet. In addition to the hospital, there is a six-story professional office building, a five-story ambulatory surgery building, and a two-story data center. Keeping the environment in these diverse facilities comfortable and consistent has proven to be a challenge, especially when considering the structures are inhabited daily by a diverse group of occupants.
HOT OR COLD?Whether sick in bed, delivering a baby, or calculating payroll, each occupant has a different comfort level. Until recently, the entire complex has been run by a four-pipe chilled water and boiler system.
“As we have grown and expanded over the years, we’ve always solved our cooling and heating needs by adding onto our central four-pipe chilled water and boiler system,” said Fred Rogers, Rush’s vice president, chief resource officer, and facility manager. “Over the past years, however, we have had increasing patient dissatisfaction with the temperature and comfort factor in our patient rooms.”
Facing this problem head on, Rogers began searching for a solution while simultaneously beginning a multimillion dollar modernization and renovation of the hospital’s third-floor women services center. This center spans four wings of the hospital including the neo-natal intensive care unit and the nursery.
With the modernization process of Phase I complete, the 14,500-square-foot labor and delivery center marked the target for Phase II renovations and a new HVAC solution.
“We needed a system that would provide individual zones for each room,” said Rogers. “We needed a system to satisfy patients who wanted their room very warm while simultaneously providing for those patients next to them that wanted it very cold.”
During Rogers’ search, he found City Multi® variable refrigerant flow zoning (VRFZ). This technology, from Mitsubishi Electric HVAC Advanced Products Division, offered a solution to the facility manager’s problem. Also during his search, Rogers found that General Supply & Machine Co. Inc., Meridian, Miss., supplied City Multi VRFZ systems. In fact, the company had previously provided the hospital’s pharmacy and radiology center with Mitsubishi Electric HVAC Mr. Slim® split-ductless systems.
Alex Weddington, vice president, General Supply & Machine Co. Inc., suggested that Rogers’ solution would be found in the City Multi R2-Series, coupled with Mitsubishi Electric HVAC’s Inverter®-driven compressor technology.
According to the information found by Rogers, “City Multi was the only two-pipe system in the industry delivering simultaneous cooling and heating. It could deliver personalized, zoned comfort to each room in the renovated women services center.”
LEARNING AND APPLICATIONWanting to learn more about the system and what it offered, Rogers, along with Weddington, flew to Mitsubishi Electric HVAC Advanced Products Division’s headquarters in Atlanta to participate in a City Multi training class. What Rogers found was that the manufacturer’s Inverter technology and Branch Circuit (BC) controller made the system’s two-pipe simultaneous cooling and heating possible. Along with that, the system automatically adjusts the compressor motor speed in reaction to outdoor temperature fluctuations, delivering the exact amount of refrigerant needed to maintain the temperature inside the structure.
After returning from the training class, Rogers and Weddington began working with the hospital’s engineering firm, Atherton Consulting Engineers, Jackson, Miss. Once the HVAC blueprint was finalized, and all bids considered, Rogers chose McLain Plumbing & Electrical Service Inc., Philadelphia, Miss., to install the systems in the second phase of the renovations.
“The Rush installation was a snap,” said Phillip McLain, Rush project manager. “My foreman, Jon Kinard had excellent City Multi training in Atlanta. He and one technician installed all the equipment, piping, and wiring in less than two weeks.
“City Multi continues to impress us with Mitsubishi Electric’s Inverter technology, the advanced system design, and its highly responsive cooling and heating performance.”
For the North section of the third floor, McLain installed two R2-Series outdoor units, 22 varied cassette air handlers, two BCs, 22 simple controllers, and one central controller. The varied cassette air handlers were chosen based on the needs of each room in which they were installed. In the 18 labor and delivery rooms, Rogers selected ceiling-recessed cassettes with square grilles and four-way deflectors. For the staff break room, he chose the same cassettes but with one-way airflow. Where there was additional space in the ceiling, concealed ducted units were chosen.
“These City Multi options helped me build a truly unique, whole-building solution that fits the function and comfort needs of each station in the center,” said Rogers. “I have a very strong instinct that my City Multi investment was the right thing. The two-pipe system is going to save us money, give me added capacity to my central system, and the variable-frequency drive will provide much needed energy efficiency.”
LOOKING AHEADUsing the City Multi systems has already allowed the hospital to transfer part of the energy load from the chiller to the new systems. “I have already seen a savings with transferring part of the floor load to another system,” said Rogers. “I can’t imagine the savings when we get the entire third floor finished.”
Rogers and Rush Health Systems have already completed multiple renovation stages, and with City Multi systems, they continue to expand their HVAC renovation goals into 2009.