Mission Net Zero in Action


Cosmas and Damian Bone Bank, Bogota

MMM Group’s Building team has a specialty design service called Mission Net Zero, which assists building owners looking to create high-performance buildings with the lowest possible energy loads. Here is a case study of one such project which recently completed the detailed design phase.

The new Comas and Damian Foundation Bone Bank in Bogota, Colombia is a showcase from both a social and environmental perspective. This eight-storey, non-profit healthcare facility will process and house vital tissue for bone transplants, replacing a small, outdated facility that served 120,000 patients in the past decade. The affiliated surgeons perform hip and knee transplants as well as facial and major limb surgeries using real bone instead of the metal, plastic, and ceramics that are common in North America, and claim better patient outcomes.

Sustainability, renewable energy, and energy efficiency are to be a focus of the design development in a region where relevant standards are uncommon. For example, the new facility will meet North American lab and HVAC codes (often not achieved in this region), and will aim to achieve a LEED Gold or equivalent green building rating. In this South American country, electricity and water are much more expensive than in North America, making conservation and renewable energy (and net zero design) immediately attractive.

MMM Group is providing energy modelling, sustainability consulting, and mechanical and electrical engineering design to help make the Foundation’s goals a reality. The recently completed detailed design includes a PV system targeting net zero on basic building operating energy and net of medical process loads. These process loads are primarily local HEPA air filtration and ultra-low freezers (-80 C). Unlike a traditional building, process loads related to specific healthcare equipment are 79% of building energy use!

In order to achieve assurances that the generated renewable energy would be sufficient to meet the net-zero target, successive building energy models were completed. The model predicted consumption for lighting, HVAC, and plug loads, and made recommendations for energy efficiency improvements to reduce process loads associated with equipment and cooling. The resulting predicted annual energy use was between 61 MWh and 75 MWh annually (or about 24 kWh/m2 to 29 kWh/m2). (As a reference, a typical office in Canada – with no large process loads such as the energy-intensive medical systems found here – uses an average of 394 kWh/m2.)

After a detailed renewable energy analysis into available wind and solar options, MMM designed a PV system that includes vertical wall modules, flat roof modules, and building-integrated glazing modules that will produce a combined 95 MWh annually. The estimated return on investment for the PV generation system is estimated to be between 15-20% – a pleasing result for the client who was hoping for a typical ROI of 6-10%.

To ensure the building energy efficiency and PV systems are working as designed, MMM will also oversee a rigorous measurement & verification program to track ongoing consumption and solar generation.

Scheduled for completion in 2014, this fast-tracked project will help the foundation continue to save and enrich the quality of thousands of lives while setting a new standard for efficient, net zero design in Bogota.