Nation's 1st all-electric, zero-emission hospital coming to Irvine in 2025

Jessica De Nova Image
Monday, April 29, 2024
Nation's 1st all-electric, zero-emission hospital coming to Irvine
UCI Health is building what's billed as the first all-electric, zero-emission hospital in the nation. It's coming to Irvine in 2025.

IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) -- UCI Health is building what may be the first all-electric, zero-emission hospital in the nation in Irvine.

The Director of Facilities with UCI Health, Joe Brothman, said there were a lot of eyes on this building.

"This facility will be the way that hospitals and high-energy-intense buildings are built in the future," Brothman said.

Sustainability was not the norm for hospitals, Brothman added.

"They're open 24/7. They're always on. A lot of the airflow requirements in hospitals cause our heating ventilation and cooling to be more demanding than a common building," Brothman said.

A lot of that demand uses carbon combustion.

UCI Health Irvine promises to be different. Most hospitals use natural gas to heat and cool water, but here, electric boilers and chillers are doing all work in a more sustainable way.

Brothman explained that the majority of the electricity in use at this location is renewable from the UCI grid.

The all-electric Central Utility Plant is where facility operations will be monitored. That includes running the air source heat pumps. Brothman said the moderate temperature in the coastal region is key.

"Much like a traditional heat pump that is used in residential or other office buildings, these can run in forward or reverse to use the ambient outside temperature to heat or cool our heating and ventilation components in this facility," Brothman said.

The campus sits on the corner of Jamboree Road and Birch Street. It includes primary and ambulatory care, a cancer center and a nearly 150 bed hospital for general acute care with a 24-hour emergency department.

Two of the four new buildings were scheduled to open in May. Staff members who are preparing for opening day, like Ambulatory Practice Manager Donna Hurt, said they are excited to be part of the health system's sustainability goals.

That includes net zero emissions by 2050.

"This will be great for the environment. Not only are we healing patients, but we're also healing our environment," Hurt said.

The hospital building of the campus is scheduled to open in late 2025.