The University of Toledo Medical Center Surgical Unit Air System Upgrade

Planning for, installing, and maintaining optimum airflow in the surgical units at The University of Toledo Medical Center (UTMC), is a matter of life and death. JDRM Engineering was the Design Associate for the State of Ohio to replace the surgery air handling unit (AHU).

The project involved replacement of an existing 47,000 CFM custom air handling unit serving a critical 24/7 surgical unit at UTMC. JDRM’s work started with a study of the existing air flow requirements and the determination of anticipated increased future airflow needs. These factors were used to determine parameters for the new system which was designed for low discharge air temperature to provide proper humidity levels when space temperature within the operating rooms is lowered below 65 degrees to maintain surgeon comfort during long, exhaustive surgeries.

Due to installation limitations, a custom roof-mounted air handling unit was selected to allow installation of the new unit without disrupting the existing air handling unit. JDRM Engineering created plans for removal of existing penthouse louvers, providing access to the new unit without stepping outside the facility. The new unit was installed adjacent to the building within very tight parameters.

The nature of UTMC’s mission requires the facilities to be in continuous operation, so construction scheduling involved coordinating mechanical and electrical systems tie-ins for the least disruption possible. The new air handler unit was installed and tested before a weekend system changeover for optimum patient care and minor disruption to UTMC’s life-saving services. A separate feed from the hospital’s main electrical gear and a feed from the emergency generator to a new automatic transfer switch, were created to accomplish this transition.

Serving UTMC as the lead for this project, JDRM completed all the state documents required to pre-purchase the air handling unit as well as obtaining bids to install the unit. Project details include modifications to:

•   Air Distribution, Associated Ductwork and Piping Systems.

•   Re-work of Plumbing, Medical Gas, and Fire Protection Plumbing Systems.

•   Emergency Power Systems and the Building Automation System (BAS).

Emergency power systems were upgraded to support the new unit. Upon generator startup a signal is sent to the BAS to ramp down the load to the new AHU via variable frequency drives to minimize the load on the emergency generator system, which was operating near capacity.


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