Here’s how to ensure your next electrical project is as quick and painless as possible.
- Retrofits and remodels help healthcare sites become more productive and cost-effective.
- Any changes to electrical systems require strict adherence to codes and regulations.
- Today’s technologies give healthcare sites choices for secondary backup power.
All healthcare facilities need reliable electrical infrastructures that help them meet present and future demand reliably if the grid fluctuates. Each facility faces unique challenges and requirements in delivering particular services.
Retrofitting or remodeling are challenging; they must be completed to strict regulatory standards while causing minimal disruption to site processes.
Remodels and retrofits upgrade healthcare sites, but only if stakeholders understand key factors and best practices. Our expert advice on planning and executing these projects emphasizes safety, compliance, and efficiency.
Key electrical considerations for remodeling projects
Healthcare facility renovations serve purposes besides aesthetics. There are essential areas a contractor must respect and work within to stay legal, safe, and cost-effective for clients. These include inspections and special permits may be necessary, depending on the structure and where it’s located. Local building codes must be considered for successful remodeling and retrofitting. Following codes and regulations during installation may limit the scope of both, or influence where remodels and retrofits can be integrated into the existing structure.
Healthcare facilities have different designated areas, and each is heavily dependent on uninterrupted power. Critical care areas are likely to suffer the greatest consequences from an electrical disruption. Any retrofits or remodeling must be planned and executed based firmly on how a care zone will be impacted according to its category:
- Category 1: Loss of life potential
- Category 2: Major injury potential
- Category 3: Disruption potential
- Category 4: Annoyance potential
Next, proper grounding and wiring is essential during remodeling. Branch loads must be segregated into three categories: life, critical, and equipment. The first loads mean life or death for patients, the second are essential to provide care, and the third keeps the general facility running. These three branches of power must be kept apart from the standard power source and from each other. They will require their own dedicated switchboards and panelboards
Lastly, retrofits and remodeling projects could be subject to rebates, grants, or tax incentives depending on which form the work takes. This could significantly offset installation costs, making it easier to start upgrading. A knowledgeable contractor can inform your facility of any available money-saving options.
Technology integration in modern healthcare facilities
A secondary source of power beyond the electrical grid is legally required for medical facilities under Article 517 of NFPA 70. Adding advanced technologies plays a powerful role in not only enhancing electrical healthcare systems and keeping them compliant.
Incorporating state-of-the-art electrical solutions into existing structures is easier for more recent construction. For example, South Florida healthcare facilities may be wondering if easy access to solar power can improve energy efficiency. It can, but important caveats exist.
First, it must be professionally installed after a thorough site evaluation to assess how many cells and batteries would be necessary for effective backup, and whether the facility’s critical loads can be met by relying partially on solar. It’s also likely to take more work to safely integrate solar panels into the roof of a healthcare facility. These spaces are often home to HVAC systems, cooling towers, or landing zones.
Adding efficient and sustainable energy to your healthcare site is often best realized by installing a commercial generator (they’re the most common solution to Article 517 of NFPA 70). They only activate when necessary and can help ensure ongoing and uninterrupted processes like critical load power and HVAC operations during a negative power event.
Energy efficiency and sustainability in retrofits
Another strong strategy for implementing energy-efficient electrical solutions is a commercial lighting retrofit. This would replace older fluorescent and incandescent bulbs with longer-lasting, more efficient, and cheaper LEDs .
The benefits of such sustainable practices are particularly pronounced for healthcare facility remodels. LEDs more environmentally and financially sustainable in any commercial setting, and they can improve working conditions for medical professionals and patients’ quality of rest, comfort, and safety.
Regularly monitoring remodels and retrofits is the best way to keep them working efficiently and sustainably. Yes, some maintenance and associated interruptions will be inevitable, but the effects will be mitigated when healthcare facility managers are proactive.
Managing disruption during electrical upgrades and future maintenance
No business model needs to mimimize downtime and its impact more than the medical sector. Healthcare simply can’t wait, and the equipment and processes that keep people well can’t be disrupted any longer than absolutely necessary.
Healthcare facilities and electrical contractors can optimize downtime and minimize disruption during electrical upgrades when they work together. Here’s a quick recap of key steps:
- Plan work around non-peak hours as much as possible.
- Choose a reliable electrical contractor who works fast and well.
- Let staff, patients, and families know about impending disruptions and how these might temporarily impact care and general safety.
- Keep upgrade areas as clear as possible for electrical contractors’ work.
Successful electrical retrofits in healthcare facilities really do rely primarily on finding an experienced electrical team that appreciates the gravity of its work. This makes retrofits and remodels as efficient and painless as possible for everyone involved.
Our long and healthy relationship with the medical sector
UES has now entered its 25th year of specializing in healthcare; a sector we’ve served since the company’s founding. From HVAC retrofits and state-of-the-art CT scanning rooms to remodeling cafeterias and installing reliable backup generators, we understand working with the strictest regulations and highest standards.
You can reach us at 954-792-5444, ( dial ext. 32 for emergencies), or via our contact form. Greet the New Year with a free quote from UES and start remodeling or retrofitting with confidence!