Low energy – low carbon acute hospital design in the UK: An Analysis of In-Use

Posted on: August 15th, 2014 by matthew_bacon

The International Symposium of Energy Challenges and Mechanics is taking place in Aberdeen next week (21st-23rd August 2014). We will be attending, having been invited to submit a paper for it, following the publication of  OCCUPANCY ANALYTICS ™: a new basis for low-energy–low-carbon hospital design and operation in the UK. This was originally published by Taylor and Francis in a special edition of the Architectural Engineering and Design Management Journal: The Impact of the Building Occupant on Energy Consumption (http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/RTGSmimUqH3cgMI9TaTs/full).

The Symposium objective is driven by the need to; ‘facilitate a rich exchange of knowledge between academia, industry, and research societies who seek solutions to address energy challenges worldwide’. The topics include both fossil fuels and many different forms of renewable energy. In addition, they will discuss issues related to energy efficiency, safety, environment and ecology.  Attendees include engineers, scientists, ecologists, regulators, administrators and policy advisors. The organisors promote the symposium as follows:

‘China’s rise as an international superpower and the global energy crisis are challenging the world. We are at a transitional age. We see technology advances in the exploration and development of oil and gas, a depleting resource; we see growth in handling aging and decommissioning. On the other hand, we see ideas and plans for the future’s new energy structure. This symposium is about energy challenges, the underlying energetic basis (mechanics) for society, involving multiple disciplines in technology, science, management and policy-making’.

Our paper introduces an innovative contribution to the low energy – low carbon design of acute hospitals in the UK. The need for innovation in acute hospital design arises from the consistently poor energy and carbon performance of the health care estate over a period of nearly three decades. This poor performance translates into a situation where overall consumption of energy in the healthcare estate has remained largely unchanged over that period, despite substantive improvements in the
asset specifications of these facilities. In terms of energy consumption and the associated carbon emissions, our research has discovered that the issues of poor In-Use performance and poor predictability of performance in acute hospitals are directly linked. The central causal factor that leads to both is a poor understanding of clinical user practices and the impact of those practices on the design and engineering of the hospital. The research identified that without such an understanding it means that
hospital designers and engineers are required to make substantial assumptions concerning In-Use during the design process, most notably concerning occupancy presence and the diversity of occupancy.
For a more in-depth look at the submission paper, please see  http://tinyurl.com/qbvtj9d. For more information, please contact www.conclude.org.uk/contact