While health care facilities could benefit greatly from energy efficiency initiatives, they have, until now, been long underserved by our industry. The Design Build team at CLEAResult, which delivers turnkey solutions for critical HVAC systems, is leading the charge to address the energy efficiency needs of the health care sector. We caught up with Steve Keppler, Design Build’s Senior Director, to discuss his team, what they do, and how they’re handling the particular challenges that health care facilities present.
Bo: To get started, can you describe, in a nutshell, what the Design Build team at CLEAResult does?
Steve: Sure. Basically, we optimize the energy performance of facilities, focusing primarily on HVAC, central plant and controls.
The Design Build team does a great deal of work in data centers as well as health care facilities. Why is that? What do these building types have in common?
Both are what we would consider to be “critical facilities,” in that both have a massive, complicated systems that consume a lot of electricity and gas, where uninterrupted, 24/7/365 operation is critical to the mission of both data centers and health care facilities. They can’t ever be at risk of going offline.
What are some of the challenges unique to working in a health care facility, and how do you address those challenges?
Plant operators and hospital administrators are often understandably resistant to change, and that can present a challenge in itself. Also, hospital central plants and systems along with their operating teams’ structure provide unique challenges in Design Build projects. We overcome these challenges by working directly with facility operators and designers, delivering both economic benefits and operations improvements.
We often hear about the Design Build process as it relates to a Design Bid Build Process. What’s the difference between the two?
Usually, in a Design Bid Build situation, the ideas, processes and execution involved in upgrading a plant or facility are almost completely assigned to the third party designers. With Design Build, the approach we use, solution development includes all stakeholders. No one’s in a vacuum. A Design Build project is a collective effort that includes executives, facility operators, designers, and constructors. When everybody’s at the table on the front end, everybody has ownership on the back end. It’s a much more informed, considerate process.
Can you talk about the health care project you’re most excited about?
We’re putting the finishing touches on a health care facility case study, right now, actually. That project in particular exhibited all the traditional barriers to optimization in a regional hospital. Basically, they had a lackluster energy performance, and the administration wanted to do something about it. We were able to disrupt the “Design-Bid-Build” process with our Design Build approach and develop a truly integrated, complementary solution.
Not only did we achieve significant success in their central plant, we also retro commissioned more of their buildings as part of kind of a “package deal.” Technologies and approaches work better in bundles, you know.
Awesome! Thanks, Steve!