The Sunnybrook Power Plant provides centralized utilities to the whopping three million square feet of building space located at the Bayview campus. Anything related to heating, cooling, water and medical gases is managed here.
“Everything needs maintenance, and we provide 24-7 support across all systems,” says Nick Poulidis, chief operating engineer. “It’s wonderful to be able to serve and help our patients, families and staff every day. This is a real group effort, and we’re lucky to have the expertise of such great engineers and specialists.”
Because the power plant is always running, so is the team. Fifteen staff members work day and night to make sure all of the systems relied upon by patients, families and staff are there when needed. Here are some highlights of the main utilities:
1. FULL STEAM AHEAD
Sunnybrook has four large steam boilers that support all heating in the hospital, including that needed to sterilize medical equipment. Each boiler is about 2,000 times the size of a home water heater and produces a maximum of 60,000 pounds of steam per hour. The exhaust passes through an impressive 178-foot chimney, equivalent to a 16-storey building.
2. COOL IT
About 300,000 litres of water are continually filtered through chillers in this closed water system. A total of seven chillers keep water temperatures at five degrees Celsius, providing air conditioning and keeping everyone comfortable during the warmer months.
3. POWER SOURCE
Six generators provide backup power in the case of an outage. Collectively, these provide about 9,500 kilowatts of power, which is more than enough to keep essential services at the hospital running in the case of an emergency or a blackout.
4. AIR-HANDLING SYSTEMS
Every area of the hospital is affected by the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to ensure an optimal patient care environment. Having enough air changes in an operating room, for example, helps keep the space safe and clean. Maintenance of these systems is led by six HVAC mechanics who work within the power plant group.
5. NEXT GENERATION
This cogeneration plant is a new installation at Sunnybrook with construction currently underway. It has a gas turbine generator, which is powered by natural gas and produces both electricity and waste heat that is used in a boiler to produce steam. The cogeneration system produces electricity and steam more cost effectively than through traditional means. When completed later this year, this new addition will allow Sunnybrook to generate about 85 per cent of the electricity it needs in-house. It will be equivalent to removing approximately 6,000 single homes off the power grid.