Located in the suburbs of Perth, Australia, St. John of God Murdoch is a 537-bed private hospital that provides comprehensive medical services for Western Australia. Established in 1994, the Murdoch facility doubled its capacity in 2014, adding 174 new beds, eight new operating theatres, a cancer center, and a multi-story medical center. This completed phase one of an ongoing $200 million renovation project. The hospital is part of St. John of God Health Care, a leading not-for-profit health care group serving Australia, New Zealand, and the wider Asia-Pacific region. The Group includes more than 20 allied hospitals in Australia.
In 2016, the Murdoch hospital invited BuildingIQ to test and evaluate the potential of its 5i platform to improve the facility’s energy strategy. The immediate objectives were to understand energy usage patterns, stabilize the building, reduce energy consumption, and improve the hospital’s cash flow. Investments were to be kept to a minimum with payback expected within one year. Patient and staff comfort during initial system setup and subsequent operations was critical.
Key challenges for BuildingIQ included meeting the requirements of a unique a risk-reward contract, establishing long term working relationships with the hospital’s engineering and operations staff, and stabilizing the building’s performance before undertaking optimization.
The client asked BuildingIQ for a six-month proof of concept period. BuildingIQ agreed, and committed to saving 5% of total energy based on optimizing 80% of the building space within the first 6 months. During the start-up window, BuildingIQ would use it analytics and expertise to identify anomalies, and make recommendations to improve the efficiency of the building.
The project got underway in January, 2017, with the BuildingIQ team working closely with the hospital’s operations team to monitor energy performance data and the responsiveness of building management system (BMS). In February and March, BuildingIQ made recommendations. The building operations team was informed of power surges and corresponding mechanical plant tunning requirements.
Additionally, supply air variables in the BMS were reviewed as part of our services strategy to augment the building’s tuning.
The optimization phase of the work began in May, when BuildingIQ took control of the building in increments, starting with one floor, one zone, then moving on to adding more.
Patient and staff comfort were carefully monitored, as was the responsiveness of the building to signals being sent to guide air supply and temperature.
RESULTS TO DATE
Results came in faster and more positively than the hospital staff expected. By the end of May, shortly after optimization began, savings were already at 2.5%, half way point of the goal. By the time energy savings reached the targeted goal of 5% in July, BuildingIQ had only optimized 50% of the building.
Savings continue to climb as more of the building is optimized. It is currently at the 60% level.
Savings in the month of July are shown in Figure 1. Actual consumption day by day is shown in red. Baseline, or projected
savings without optimization software is shown in blue. Savings are the difference between actual and baseline. The chart in Figure 2 shows the cumulative savings to date.
The client’s reaction to the recommendations and results was of excitement during the startup phase.
“This is fantastic. You are telling us what we need to know when we need to know. Your
team is like the eyes and ears of our building.” – John Bose, Manager of Engineering Services
With BuildingIQ’s 5i Platform, the Hospital will likely become cash-flow positive in eight months based on the 38,450 square meters (413,872 sq. ft.) of space currently under its control. As BuildingIQ gains control of the rest of the building, the time to reach cash-flow positive will likely drop to six months.
BuildingIQ’s relationship with the team at St. John of God Hospital in Murdoch is off to a great start, providing a foundation for growth. The proof of concept has been a resounding successful, the building has been stabilized and is responding well to control signals, and the savings are expected to mount over the remaining three years of the initial contract.
Hospitals have limited resources for investment and cash flow is a major driver in hospital administration. Management teams want to reduce operational costs and be able to use the money to spend on healthcare, not energy. BuildingIQ’s 5i Platform offers great potential for positive cash-flow generation.
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