Creating a diamond standard in health and medical research

Schneider Electric
Tuesday, 09 April, 2013



Medical research generates new ideas and innovation every day. To swiftly incorporate these developments into healthcare delivery, the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) is building an innovative 25,000 m2 facility, designed to foster researchers’ creativity and productivity. Together with Schneider Electric Life Sciences solution experts, SAHMRI will realise its vision of a highly intelligent and responsive facility.

Already destined for icon status on the Adelaide city skyline, SAHMRI’s diamond shape construction, elevated on flower columns, also features a pine cone-inspired transparent skin to allow plenty of natural light into the building. It features wet and dry laboratory areas, modern research areas and even a medicinal garden.

By working with Schneider Electric, SAHMRI will maximise operational efficiencies and energy conservation, ensure a reliable and secure environment, reduce risks, and achieve regulatory compliance and green building certification. The ultimate aim is to create a world-class facility where experts will be able to rapidly translate medical research results into health outcomes for patients.

The challenge

The ideal facility needs to provide capacity to respond to new and emerging research challenges, and foster innovation and improvements in research services. Enabling this requires a purpose-built, iconic facility for health and medical research, with state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment.

“We need environments that encourage creativity, the right temperature, right lighting and right systems to ensure researchers are at their best, most creative and productive,” says Professor Steve Wesselingh, Executive Director, SAHMRI.

It is a theme reiterated by Michelle Gheorghiu, SAHMRI Project Director, “We are creating a hub of knowledge to imbibe passion into the young generation about research.”

The solution - an integrated building system approach

Key to the building’s success was early engagement with Schneider Electric and the company’s EcoStruxure architecture during the design phase. EcoStruxure provides a solid foundation for an integrated building system (IBS), bringing together five key domains:  power management, process automation, building management, IT management and security.

The IBS integrates the most innovative building technologies such as heating and cooling, hydraulics, lifts, fire monitoring, electrical monitoring, lighting, security and lab controls to maximise building performance, energy efficiency and ongoing cost savings throughout the facility’s life cycle. It also provides a safe and secure environment for researchers, visitors and staff, improving their experience, satisfaction and operational productivity. This unique system will easily accommodate future technologies and regulatory changes.

SAHMRI’s IBS has started as a concept to align the importance of technology and innovation in delivering a flexible and adaptable facility, responsive to the needs of a world-class research environment. The integrated platform has evolved from a design concept into a fully integrated system where all building services communicate and are accessed on a single platform. The IBS design philosophy is to provide a holistic system architecture which will bring together these services to improve building efficiencies and play an integral part in extending the life of the building.

The IBS also provides maximum efficiency through a collaborative design, construction and delivery process, utilising innovative 3D building information modelling (BIM) software. This avoids design changes and rework and ensures sustainability and optimisation of the facility’s operation post construction.

Schneider Electric’s intelligent building solution for SAHMRI is based on the success of its Andover Continuum technology. Andover Continuum is an internationally recognised integration and building management platform that allows the facility operator to monitor and control heating, ventilation, air conditioning, humidity, lighting, power, access, video, lifts and other security features across the facility.

End users within the building can view and control any of the services via the Magelis human machine interface (HMI) touch screens located throughout the building. The screens employ 3D graphics and provide a simple and effective means of connecting systems, collecting data and presenting information.

Integrated security solution

Schneider Electric’s integrated security offering - including smart card access control, close circuit video management and high-definition cameras, and monitoring - provided a very safe, flexible and secure solution, attractive to SAHMRI.

Each smart card can be programmed to allow access to designated areas only for key personnel and prevent entry to restricted areas such as the laboratory.

The video management system designed for SAHMRI deploys the latest in Pelco by Schneider Electric’s high-definition cameras, with increased capabilities for video analytics and identification - more than standard resolutions. More than 55 cameras have been specified for this site, based on a fully integrated platform incorporating intercom networks.

Intelligent lighting control

Another key part of the EcoStruxure architecture is the Clipsal by Schneider Electric DALIcontrol lighting control system, designed to maximise energy efficiencies in the building. DALI is an open control protocol system that ensures compatibility between lighting and control devices.

Although there are key scenes programmed into the building, the system also allows for customised programming in research areas that require constant lighting to simulate daylight levels of light.

DALIcontrol also includes an emergency lighting solution. Test sequences have been scheduled into the operation and provide reports to the facility operator to confirm that the evacuation lighting is functioning properly. Clipsal by Schneider Electric has also supplied energy-efficient exit light fittings for the entire building.

A reliable emergency power supply

It is critical in medical facilities to have the assurance that the backup power system will perform in an emergency. Schneider Electric’s emergency power supply system (EPSS) test solution provides automated analysis and accurate reporting as well as complete power system information. It tests the back-up generator supply and gives reports on the precise timing of transfer switches, the condition and health of the generator, and monitors EPSS load levels and duration of test. It makes manual testing obsolete, saving time and also collecting data during real outages. This ensures that the system is healthy and will perform if and when needed. The EPSS test solution increases patient safety by reducing the chance of an EPSS failure due to human error or inadequate manual testing procedures. To further increase SAHMRI’s standing as a modern facility, Schneider Electric worked with the design team to install the EPSS test solution into the facility.

Power interruptions also have the potential to create data loss and hardware damage to all communications and computer equipment. With 18 communication hubs located throughout the SAHMRI building, Schneider Electric is providing uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) to maintain power continuity and protect vital communications equipment such as computers, data centres and telecommunication. Each UPS is networked to the IBS for instant monitoring and status.

A monitored power network

Many clients are now asking for more functional energy monitoring and reporting capabilities as part of their electrical distribution network and SAHMRI is no exception. Schneider Electric included its new StruxureWare Power Monitoring 7.0 (SPM7) energy management software platform to better integrate SAHMRI’s energy metering. To achieve even better power quality and reliability outcomes for SAHMRI, Schneider Electric collaborated with electrical contractors Nilsen to upgrade the metering hardware to allow for better power quality event diagnostics and therefore ensure a shorter ‘mean time to repair’ should any electrical network issues arise.

SPM7 will allow the SAHMRI to monitor the entire installation from the utility-grade power quality (PQ) meter on the main incomer to the PQ meters on the subsectional feeders; and via low-voltage Masterpact air-circuit breakers and Compact NSX moulded case circuit breakers fitted with Micrologic control units installed on key submains. SAHMRI’s project design team, including electrical services consultant Aurecon, also ensured submetering was installed strategically in specially designed distribution boards to separately meter the power and lighting chassis. This makes it easier to identify energy wastage, act on opportunities, improve efficiencies, discriminate energy consumption per level, per pod and to comply with SAHMRI’s energy-efficiency expectations.

SPM7 offers real-time power quality and energy monitoring and is able to alarm and report by exception using its various out-of-the-box and customisable reports, which a user can subscribe to. SPM7 is also able to present a user with an easy-to-interoperate energy dashboard display to indicate how a facility is performing against its energy usage targets and carbon emission targets.

By adopting an EcoStruxure approach, the SAHMRI design team could foresee the further operational and maintenance benefits by combining SPM7 with a fit-for-purpose Schneider Electric Medium & Low Voltage electrical distribution system. Schneider Electric partnered with local energy solution integrator AZZO to deliver this integrated technological solution to maximise the functionality and efficiency of the SAHMRI’s electrical distribution network. The key distinguishing factor for Schneider Electric with this type of integrated circuit protection and monitoring system is that it is all offered in one package.

More drive for less input

A facility such as SAHMRI requires an enormous number of pumps, fans and motors to ensure the HVAC system is operational. These consume vast amounts of energy; however, the SAHMRI design team has conserved as much energy as possible with the addition of Schneider Electric’s Altivar variable speed drives. These will limit energy usage on start-up and allow for the precise control of heating and cooling through the IBS achieving further efficiencies, while extending the mechanical life of the equipment.

Team of local experts

Local representation was an important prerequisite for SAHMRI; in the event of any technical issues, Schneider Electric could quickly resolve them and limit any project delivery delays. Schneider Electric provides this combination of local support and back-up with global access to world-leading expertise in technology implementation and therefore is ideally suited to healthcare and life sciences.

Meeting certification standards

Schneider Electric’s solution also helps the SAHMRI building meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification standards. This is a globally recognised standard in ensuring that a building project is environmentally responsible, profitable and a healthy place to work.

Bottom line

Scheduled for completion in late 2013, the SAHMRI building design brief and goals are well underway and the building is a diamond example of how a holistic approach, based on EcoStruxure architecture, is poised to create great energy efficiencies and intelligent building systems for the long term.

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