Kath Williams + Associates Projects

Central Energy Plant

Children's Hospital
Columbus, Ohio
LEED Gold - 2011
LEED NC v2.2
Owner:Nationwide Children's Hospital
Developer:Nationwide Foundation
Columbus, Ohio
Builder:Gilbane Building Company
Columbus, Ohio
Architect:Moody Nolan
FKP Architects
Civil Engineer:EMH&T
HVAC Engineer:HAWA Incorporated
LEED AP:Ron Canini/Marcia Conrad
Senior LEED AP:Kath Williams

Project narrative provided by Moody Nolan, Inc.


Nationwide Children’s Hospital facility made the decision to build a new central energy plant that would provide steam, chilled water, normal power, and emergency power for buildings on the hospital campus.  The available capacity in the existing systems was not able to support future growth. 

The project team had been charged with the task of designing a new facility so that the central plant could support current demands and future growth at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Upon commissioning, the task of designing a new central energy plant, an impressive direction was placed upon the Owner by the Architect of Record, Moody Nolan, Inc., to include reaching a sustainable goal that was “measurable.”   The registration of the Central Energy Plant project with the USBCG LEED NC 2.2 followed and LEED NC 2.2 became the driving tool to meet the project team’s sustainable design goal.

The site for the new central plant was selected based on the adjacency to the existing central plant.   The work of this project needed to be closely coordinated by the Architect of Record with other hospital projects including the existing central plant demolition, new utility tunnels, ongoing hospital care and procedures sensitive and critically affected by construction and with additional building projects scheduled to be considered in the design process. 


The Central Energy Plant, designed with 53,972 square feet, is a three (3) story building with a basement. The site is 1.2 acres.  It is bordered by the hospital campus on the east, south and west sides and Mooberry Streeton the north which borders I-71.  The second floor is a partial floor, and has cooling towers located on a roof area above the first floor.  The Mezzanines are located above the first floor. (See rendering attachments.) The basement will be used for incoming utility service entrances and connections to existing and new tunnels.  The first floor will include chillers and the steam boilers.  The mezzanine will include the auxiliary cooling system equipment and pumps. 

The new central energy plant design layout includes the following:
·         Major equipment includes gas/oil fired steam boilers for heating systems, domestic hot water and sterilizers
·         Chillers and cooling towers for cooling;
·         Main electric service entrance and distribution gear, and oil fired generators for emergency electric;
·         New water and gas service entrances;
·         Offices and support spaces.
·         Entry and security checkpoints.
·         Loading dock to serve the Central Energy Plant specifically.
·         Limited parking (three spaces) is provided near an entrance to the building.
·         Fuel tanks are located underground on the northeast area of the site.


The previously developed site for the Central Energy Plant is just southeast of downtown Columbus, Ohio , located within one-half of a mile of 15 basic services and within a neighborhood with an average density of 10 units per acre net.  The site is located within ¼ of a mile of public transportation. Preferred parking is offered to low emitting and fuel efficient vehicles, and the parking capacity was designed to not exceed local zoning requirements.  The design team for the Central Energy Plant has also reduced the heat island effect of the building through the use of three story structure using roofing materials with a solar reflective index of greater than 78. The hospital had previously committed to a smoke free campus wide policy.
The design team for the Central Energy Plant has also committed to creating an energy efficient design. Through the use of more efficient HVAC and lighting systems the team was able to create a design which has the potential to save a minimum of 28% of energy cost over the baseline building of the same type. In addition the HVAC system does not use any CFC based refrigerants which contribute to ozone depletion.  Energy efficiency is achieved through the utilization of high efficiency heating and cooling systems, fluorescent lighting, and insulated building envelope materials. High efficiency lamp and ballast technologies will be incorporated to provide the required light levels and reduce energy consumption. Great care will be taken in the layout of lighting fixtures to achieve the reduction in energy consumption and reduction of light pollution.  There will be no use of CFC-based refrigerants in the HVAC and plumbing systems.

The facility is designed to be efficient in its use of water and energy. The project will conserve water using high efficiency fixtures.

The Design team for the Central Energy Plant also had a strong focus on the indoor environmental quality of the building. The team utilized features which enhanced acoustical performance and improved thermal comfort while maintaining good air quality. Air quality is monitored for carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide levels in occupied areas.  Air pollutants are reduced through walk-off mats, proper ventilation and filtration systems. Low–emitting materials were also selected to further enhance the air quality levels by reducing the harmful emissions from these materials. Lighting and thermal systems are also very controllable enhancing the occupant comfort level. The offices are day lit for added comfort and improved performance. The high-efficiency mechanical equipment, smoke-free hospital-wide policy, air quality monitoring during construction, use of low-emitting materials, large windows along the perimeter and controllability of lighting and thermal systems combine to produce numerous indoor environmental quality benefits.

To further reduce the Central Energy Plant’s environmental impact many strides were taken to utilize environmentally friendly materials and resources as well as utilizing recycling systems both during and after construction. The construction team has committed to reusing or recycling at least 75% of the construction waste from the site.  Construction waste materials will be sorted and diverted to recycling/reuse facilities at every opportunity.

Storage containers have been provided for the storage and collection of recyclables including glass, paper, cardboard, metal and plastic, and organic landscape materials.  Within the facility, recycling containers will be visibly placed in offices for staff use.

Materials were also selected which have high recycled content. Preference was also given to materials which were extracted, processed, and manufactured within 500 miles of the project site which supports the local economy and reduces costs and the environmental impact of transportation. A wide variety of recycled and regional materials will be used in the construction including steel, fly-ash concrete, recycled aggregate and recycled content of the other building materials.

Bicycle racks and showers/changing rooms have been provided for occupants who choose to use their bicycles as a means of transportation to and from work. Planting materials that have been selected for this site are low maintenance grasses and plantings that are native or adaptive to Ohio . Therefore, a potable water irrigation system is not needed for these plants to survive, as they can survive on natural rainfall quantities after initial establishment.

Other sustainable elements of the site include use of light colored concrete pavement & driveway to reduce heat island effect. No new parking has been added on the site.

Innovative strategies used in design and construction focused on “Green Educational Programs,”  “Heat Recovery from Boiler Blow Down,” and “Sound Analysis and Noise Reduction.”