Managing a building with a heating, ventilation and air conditioning system that is obsolete and inefficient, the board of Eaglestone Lodge is facing making improvements expected to cost $300,000.
“We’re probably looking at a several-years plan with long-term funding,” Dave Clark, who has been a board member since last April, said last week after releasing a system audit report submitted by Kontzamanis Graumann Smith MacMillan Inc. (KGS Consulting) of Regina.
Eaglestone Lodge Personal Care Home, which opened in 1958, is a long-term care facility in Kamsack for adults who require care due to infirmity from age, chronic illness and/or disability. As of last week, the lodge had 48 full care and independent living residents with two independent living vacancies.
The Lodge is a registered charitable non-profit organization, which does not receive funding for operations or maintenance from SaskHealth, Clark said. “It seems a lot of people don't realize this.”
Although the board has not yet prioritized the recommendations, Clark said he expects that the room ventilation will probably be among the first aspects of the system to be improved.
The HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) report submitted by KGS Consulting said that the Lodge’s “existing boilers are past their life span and not operating as efficiently as they could be. The boiler/HVAC control system is inadequate and does not provide efficient temperature control of the occupied space.
“The existing exhaust fans are past their life span and not operating as efficiently as they could be,” it said. “The fan controls are inadequate for energy/heat conservation with excessive amounts of heated air being exhausted to the outdoors.
“The existing hydronic heating loop has inadequate zoning and controls to maintain proper occupied space temperature based on user requirements,” it said. “Piping and radiators are aging and should be considered for replacement in the near future.
“There is no direct supply air flow to individual rooms. Air is transferred from the main hallways into the rooms through under cuts on the doorways. This is not good practice.
“Ductwork is in very poor condition with joints not being sealed, insulation compromised and duct supports failing in various locations.
“Fresh intake air ducting proximity to the ground and the height at which they were installed allows them to be readily covered with snow in wintertime and in summer when the rain saturates the soil, off gases from the saturated soil is a strong pungent smell and evident inside the mechanical room. This also provides poor air quality being supplied throughout the occupied spaces.”
In order to improve the situation, KGS Consulting recommends the replacement of the existing boiler systems within the mechanical room. Payback from the replacement was estimated at 4.5 years.
It recommends the replacement of the existing roof exhaust fan system to a zoned exhaust fan system, utilizing occupancy sensors within the washrooms for both lighting control and fan control, it said. “This would remove the 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week operation resulting in needless energy consumption and retention of a fair majority of lost building heat through the current exhaust system.”
The replacement of all existing ductwork and duct insulation due to its poor condition was recommended. “All ducting supports should be replaced as well.”
The current hydronic heating loop throughout the building should be upgraded to re-zone rooms and areas based on occupancy, using individual thermostats, zoning valves, modification to piping within crawlspace with a dedicated re-circulation pumping system and piping to improve efficiencies within the heating system, it said. “Insulated piping, zone return valves and thermostats for the zones with individual comfort and allowance for premium room control that communicate back with a centralized controller would be extremely beneficial.”
Additional ventilation is needed for all rooms/suites and areas identified as required by guidelines for correct air exchanges and improved air quality for the entire facility, it said.
A complete thermal scan of the entire facility to recognize heat losses through building envelope should be considered and that would assist in energy conservation applications for the facility, it said. At present the windows and doors throughout have been identified as major heat source losses and should be upgraded to a better efficiency rating to provide for an increased saving on operations budgets.
“There would be a requirement to upgrade the current electrical system throughout the building to meet or exceed code requirements for long-term care facilities,” it said. “Upgrading lighting throughout to an automated system and incorporating energy efficient fixtures and controls would provide cost savings. This would require an electrical engineer to conduct a more thorough evaluation of the existing system.”
Clark, who received the report in mid-December, said that the board has yet to act on its recommendations but was eager to inform the community’s residents what it is facing with regards to the lodge’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning requirements.