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Hospital 3.0: modern and energy-efficient

This modern and climate-friendly hospital in Germany truly is part of a new generation. The new building of the Klinikum Frankfurt Höchst has been successfully implemented to meet the Passive House standard. This makes it the first hospital in the world to receive a Passive House certificate. The Minister of Economic Affairs of the German state of Hesse, Tarek Al-Wazir, presented the certificate together with the Passive House Institute. He praised the building for its energy-efficient performance which far surpasses the statutory requirements. The Passive House Institute had previously prepared a baseline study for this pilot project on behalf of the state government of Hesse. The research institute accompanied the new build.

The goal has been achieved: the new building of the Klinikum Frankfurt Höchst is equipped with the latest medical technology, and at the same time, is exemplary in terms of energy efficiency. The Minister of Economic Affairs of the federal state of Hesse Tarek Al-Wazir, together with the Passive House Institute and Frankfurt city councillor Rosemarie Heilig, presented the first- ever Passive House certificate for a hospital to its management. "This hospital building shows how successful climate protection in the building sector can be. This is exactly what we need now", explained Al-Wazir during the certificate presentation.

Biggest consumers of energy

The minister further explained that the best kind of energy is the one not consumed in the first place. The state government of Hesse is therefore committed to saving energy, energy efficiency and renewable energy. The federal state was pleased to have promoted and supported this exemplary model of a climate-friendly building with an energy standard that far exceeds statutory requirements. Due to their intensive 24-hour operation, hospitals belong to one of the biggest energy consumers in buildings: a large number of technical devices are used in the emergency room and operating theatres with intensive care units as well as in the patients' rooms. "This precisely is why the energy-efficient concept is particularly worthwhile for hospitals with their high energy demand. This applies for efficiency measures for the building itself as well as for energy-efficient technical devices," explained Dr Jürgen Schnieders, a managing director of the Passive House Institute. The research institute was closely involved in the planning and construction phases of the new building.

Fresh air

The high energy-efficiency of the building makes it possible to achieve the appreciated elevated room temperatures in patients' rooms with less use of energy. Fresh air is supplied by the ventilation system, which helps to save heating energy with its heat recovery system. The baseline study on the implementation of the Passive House concept in hospitals was prepared in advance by the Passive House Institute. It shows that despite the higher room temperature and the higher air change rate of the controlled ventilation, the heating energy demand can be limited to 15 kWh/(m²TFA a) (kilowatt-hours per square metre of treated floor area per year) using coordinated measures.

Reduced operating costs

With the highly energy-efficient new building, operating costs of the hospital will be reduced significantly. More than 660 beds are available in the building which will start operations later this year. The outpatient clinic provides a further 40 beds. The first floor accommodates eleven operating theatres, including a hybrid operating room. The technical building systems are installed on the sixth floor, which only extends across parts of the building. Helicopters can land on the roof of the new construction. From there, all emergency units can be reached.

Better conditions

The new hospital building provides better overall conditions for its patients and the more than 1600 employees that will work there, according to Martin Menger, chairman of the managing board of the varisano hospital group. "The new hospital building brings with it a completely new atmosphere, and not just for patients. We offer exceptional modern work opportunities in the medical and health care sectors," said Menger when receiving the Passive House certificate.

Larger patient rooms

Menger described other advantages of the new building: the patient rooms are now slightly bigger, which makes the manoeuvring of beds and devices easier for all involved. Moreover, all patient beds are equipped with touch screens which can be used for medical supervision as well as entertainment for the patients. During the presentation of the Passive House certificate, Rosemarie Heilig, head of the Climate and Environment Department of the city of Frankfurt, described the new building as a "beacon project for all hospitals which will be built in the future". Since the initial planning stages, Heilig had argued in favour of implementing the new building to a highly energy-efficient standard. "I am proud that we have been successful in achieving this milestone".

Full equipment

In a hospital, the electricity consumption is generally three to four times higher than in a residential building. In the baseline study on the implementation of the Passive House concept in hospitals, it is clear that the equipment in a hospital has a major influence on the energy demand and must be considered to its full extent. Using conventional verification methods however, only the energy demand for heating and cooling, ventilation, potable water and lighting is considered. With these methods though, almost half of the actual energy demand is disregarded during the planning phase.

Research on the energy demand

"The distribution of energy shows that hospitals are usually equipped with further devices and energy-intensive processes are also used here. In collaboration with those involved in the construction, we calculated the real energy demand of the hospital", explained Dr Berthold Kaufmann of the Passive House Institute. Other applications such as IT equipment, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and sterile supply have therefore been taken into account for the new building of the Klinikum Frankfurt Höchst. Further-more, energy efficient devices are recommended, especially in a hospital, as they use less energy on the one hand, and reduce the cooling demand on the other.

Baseline study

Many hospital buildings all around the globe are in need of a refurbishment, in some cases new constructions are being discussed. The baseline study on the implementation of the Passive House standard in hospitals by the Passive House Institute is available free of charge.

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