Medical Research Institute Setting Standards; Schneider Electric is Helping

Feb. 27, 2013
Key to the building’s success was early engagement with Schneider Electric and the company’s EcoStruxure architecture during the design phase. EcoStruxure integrates SAHMRI’s building systemsinto a single platform that includes heating and cooling, energy management, security, and lab controls, to provide efficiency and flexibility throughout the facility’s lifecycle.

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 diamond shaped 269,000 sq.ft. facility in Adelaide, South Australia, designed to foster researchers’ creativity and productivity. Together with Schneider Electric Life Sciences solution experts, SAHMRI will realize its vision of a highly intelligent and responsive facility.

Key to the building’s success was early engagement with Schneider Electric and the company’s EcoStruxure architecture during the design phase. EcoStruxure integrates SAHMRI’s building systemsinto a single platform that includes heating and cooling, energy management, security, and lab controls, to provide efficiency and flexibility throughout the facility’s lifecycle.

Artist rendering of the SAHMRI facility.

AHMRI’s diamond shape construction, elevated on flower columns, features a pine cone inspired transparent skin to allow in plenty of natural light into the building. It features wet and dry laboratory areas, modern research areas and even a medicinal garden.

“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.”

EcoStruxure: An Integrated Building System approach

The backbone of the EcoStruxure architecture is the Integrated Building System (IBS), providing maximum efficiency through a collaborative design, construction, and delivery process. The system design utilises innovative 3D building information modeling software, to avoid design changes and rework. Because all components communicate with one another, the system allows the facility manager to monitor and control heating, ventilation, air conditioning, humidity, lighting, access control, video, lifts and other security features across the facility.

Integrated Security Solution

The control of access and security was of critical importance for SAHMRI's objectives. 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.

Artist rendering of an interior cafe area at the SAHMRI facility.

The Video Management System designed for SAHMRI deploys the latest in Pelco by Schneider Electric’s high-definition cameras. These offer increased capabilities for video analytics and identification- more than standard resolutions.

Intelligent Lighting Control

Another key component of the EcoStruxure architecture is Clipsal by Schneider Electric’s DALIcontrol lighting control system, designed to maximise energy efficiencies in the building. 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. Australia-based 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 onthe precise timing of transfer switches,the condition and health of the generator, 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.

Power interruptions also have the potential to create data loss and hardware damage to all communication and computer equipment. With 18 communication hubs located throughout the SAHMRI building, Schneider Electric is providing uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) to maintain power continuity and protect vital communications equipment.

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 their 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 their entire installation from the Utility Grade Power Quality (PQ) Meter on their main incomer, to the PQ meters on their Sub sectional feeders; and via low voltage Masterpact air-circuit breakers and Compact NSX moulded case circuit breakers fitted with Micrologic control units installed on key sub mains. SAHMRI’s project design team including electrical services consultant, Aurecon also ensured sub-metering was installed strategically in specially designed distribution boards, to separately meter the power and lighting chassis.

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.

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.

Team of Local Experts

Local representation was an important pre-requisite for SAHMRI as in the event of any technical issues, Schneider Electric could quickly resolve them and limit any project delivery delays. Schneider Electric provides this unique 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.

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 Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure architecture is poised to create great energy efficiencies and intelligent building systems for the long term.