Infrastructure Renewal Projects

Providing patients with the best experience requires well-designed spaces to support their comfort, care and recovery. Unity Health Toronto is continually innovating and modernizing our infrastructure, which allows us to implement new and emerging technologies along with models of integrated and specialized care. 

The projects highlighted on this website are made possible through the contributions of numerous people and departments across the network. It is our network’s ongoing commitment and strategic priority to invest in our future by increasing our environmental stewardship and modernizing our spaces to support exceptional patient care and experience. 

Construction projects, both minor and major, are taking place across Unity Health Toronto at all times in an effort to modernize our facilities and create healing environments that meet the needs of our patients. 

Installation of new and efficient kitchen fan at St. Joseph’s kitchen (March 2020)

The main kitchen exhaust fan (10 HP) at St. Joseph’s was running at a constant speed while operating 24-7. A variable frequency drive (VFD) was installed in order to adjust the fan’s speed to meet the exhaust demand, resulting in reduced energy consumption. The new system runs at a reduced speed of 40 per cent and is scheduled to only operate during the peak hours of the day which are from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Greening Impact:

  • 63,959 kWh of energy saved per year
  • Estimated incentives from SaveOnEnergy: $5,750, evaluation in progress

St. Joseph’s boiler heat recovery  (December 2019)

A new heat exchanger was installed in the boiler system to preheat the cold water before beginning the process to remove any oxygen or other gases from the water. The addition of this heat exchanger effectively reduces both heat loss and electricity consumption. The new system also requires zero maintenance.

Greening Impact:

  • Utility savings: $20,500/year
  • Estimated incentives from Enbridge – $6,000
  • Estimated incentives from City – $3,800

LED bulb retrofit – chapel backlighting (August 2019)

A total of 150 fluorescent backlights for the chapel window were replaced with energy efficient LED bulbs. LEDs are more efficient and generally last longer than fluorescent light bulbs. LED bulbs generate less heat and emit light in a specific direction which will reduce the need for reflectors and diffusers.

Greening Impact:

  • Approximately 12,352 kWh of energy saved per year
  • Incentive received from SaveONenergy

OLM parking garage lighting modification (July 2019)

A total of 168 metal halide lamps in the parking garage were replaced with energy efficient LED lamps. Lamps in the parking garage are on 24/7. The savings are significant both in reduced electricity consumption and in reduced maintenance requirements. LED lamps also provide stronger and brighter lighting.

Greening Impact:

  • Approximately 225,658 kWh of energy saved per year
  • Incentive received from SaveONenergy

St. Joseph’s T8 light bulb lighting retrofit 2019

Electricians at St. Joseph’s have begun the replacement of compact fluorescent (CFL) lamps in the hospital’s hallways with LED lamps. During the first round, 500 lamps were retrofitted. LED lamps last five times longer than compact fluorescent lamps, and use 60 per cent less energy. Because lamps in hallways operate 24/7, the annual savings are significant. This project is ongoing, and remaining CFL lamps are continuously being replaced with LED lamps inside the hospital.

Greening Impact:

  • Estimated energy savings: approximately 70,080 kWh per year
  • Incentive received from SaveONenergy

Barnicke cooling plant upgrade (September 2019)

Two new 600-ton chillers were installed to replace the older 400-ton chillers. The new chillers work together with an existing 1,200-ton chiller. By having three chillers, we can effectively choose which ones to run based on need. If less cooled air were needed, only one of the smaller chillers would run. If more is needed, we have several options. Either the 1,200-ton chiller runs by itself, the 1,200-ton chiller and one of the 600-ton chillers can run together, or all three chillers would operate at the same time. At this time, a performance study is in progress to determine how to further improve cooling efficiency.

Greening Impact:

  • Energy saved: approximately 358,473 kWh per year
  • Incentive received from SaveONenergy

Air conditioning unit for elevator service room (April 16, 2017)

The service elevator’s air conditioning (AC) unit was replaced with a brand new AC unit on the heliport roof of the Cardinal Carter North Wing. The AC unit cools the only elevator that has access to the heliport, which transports trauma victims from the heliport to the Emergency Department. Without a working AC unit, the elevator will not operate, therefore preventing St. Michael’s Hospital from accepting trauma patients through the heliport.

Greening Impact:

  • 14,093 kWh of energy saved per year
  • Incentive received from SaveONenergy

Geothermal heat pump in Cardinal Carter (August 4, 2016)

A geothermal heat pump was installed instead of the previously used electric block heater to heat coolant, the substance that regulates the temperature of the hospital generator. The geothermal heat pump uses less energy by drawing heat from the surrounding air to heat the coolant. By ensuring the coolant is always heated, we are always prepared for the emergency generator to start up should it be required.

Greening Impact:

  • 35,803 kWh of energy saved per year
  • Incentive received from SaveONenergy

Helipad lights (October 16, 2017)

LED lights were installed around the helicopter landing pad in order to guide helicopters safely. LED lights were chosen for their energy efficiency, their ability to operate better in cold temperatures and their long lasting durability.

Greening Impact:

  • An estimated 2,990 kWh of energy saved per year

Domestic cold water pump with variable frequency (replaced in two areas of the hospital, 2017)

We replaced the previously used constant cold water pumps with variable frequency pumps in two areas of the hospital – Bond South and Queen South. Constant cold water pumps operate at a constant speed and are not capable of adjusting the speed based on demand of water in the hospital. Alternatively, the new variable frequency water pumps adjust to meet demand, resulting in reduced energy consumption.

Greening Impact for both pumps:

  • 85,161 kWh of energy saved per year
  • Incentive received from SaveONenergy

Helipad structural steel fireproofing

The helipad at St. Michael’s Hospital is supported by structural steel beams, which are located underneath the landing for the helicopter. If there’s a fire, the structural steel loses strength as the temperature increases. In order to prevent the steel beams from heating up and collapsing in such a scenario, a layer of special spray coating and paint were sprayed over the beams. This method is a part of passive fire protection which aims to prevent or slow the spread of fire

Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute variable air volume retrofit (August 31, 2016)

The constant air volume HVAC system was replaced with a variable air volume system for the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute

The constant air volume systems supply air at a single temperature and a constant volume. Variable air volume systems are a more energy efficient option because the fan’s speed adjusts to fit the temperature requirements needed in a given space. The new systems enable more precise temperature control and lower energy consumption

Greening Impact for both pumps:

  • 2,246,416 kWh of energy saved since 2015
  • Incentive received from SaveONenergy

Ceiling patient lifts (2017)

We have installed ceiling lifts for each patient bed on the 9th floor and 14th floor of the Cardinal Carter Wing. These lifts are used by staff for various daily activities pertaining to inpatient care such as transferring and repositioning patients and limb lifting assistance.

These new ceiling lifts charge any time they are not in use, unlike the previous lifts that had to be returned to a docking station. This feature ensures the lift is always ready for use in times of need.

Roof replacements throughout the hospital

In recent years, we replaced 18,387 square feet of roof space at St. Michael’s Hospital. Roof replacement projects are extensive and include ladder replacements, duct insulations, laying down paver stones, installing handrails, and much more.

LED light replacements throughout the hospital

We have replaced approximately 320 fluorescent and incandescent lights with LED lights in various areas of the hospital. Replacing light bulbs with LED lights is an important step within St. Michael’s greening initiatives because they have a longer lifespan and consume lower amounts of energy.

Greening Impact:

  • Total energy savings from various LED projects – 142,848 kWh/year

61 Queen parking garage (July 2018)

The parking garage for the St. Michael’s Hospital 61 Queen Health Clinic was renovated to include new concrete slabs and a waterproofing membrane. This membrane is designed to protect the floor of the parking garage by preventing water from passing through it.

Accessibility upgrades – tactile indicator installation (Nov. 30, 2018)

To improve the accessibility of the Queen St. Entrance to St. Michael’s Hospital, yellow tactile indicator tiles were installed along the sidewalk and driveway. The textured and brightly coloured tiles improve safety for individuals with vision loss by providing a clear distinction of where the sidewalk is ending and the driveway is beginning. St. Michael’s Hospital is committed to improving the safety and accessibility of our facility.

St. Michael’s Hospital flooring replacements

St. Michael’s has been replacing the flooring in all wings of the hospital on an ongoing basis. Old flooring throughout the hospital (often carpet or linoleum) can be found damaged or outdated, and can pose an infection control risk. From a health and safety perspective, the new standard rubber floors are very safe and contribute to high indoor air quality. They are easy to clean, provide a sleek finish and have a warranty of 10 years but their lifespans tend to be much longer.

Further, the material is environmentally friendly. Primarily, the rubber is harvested without harming the trees which they come from, the flooring is manufactured without producing any toxic gases, and the floors are recyclable after their useful life making it overall environmentally friendly.

Reducing and preventing water waste (August 2020)

Graph showing the water usage of providence healthcare

In early 2019, the Unity Health Toronto Energy Team shared water data showing an abnormal increase in water use at Providence Healthcare. The Building Services team promptly took action; they investigated the entire facility and implemented effective correctional measures. Because of these efforts and the great work done by all of the teams involved, the water use at Providence decreased significantly in September 2019 to match previous years’ water consumption trends. See the graph above to see this trend.

Greening Impact:

  • Prevented 14,800 m3 of water waste per year<

Providence LED lighting retrofit (March 2020)

Providence had its first LED retrofit of 1,200 fluorescent lights in various corridors of the hospital. LEDs not only have a longer lifespan, but they also consume less energy while providing stronger lighting. This project is an important milestone towards sustainability at Providence.

 Greening Impact:

  • 136,656 kWh of energy saved per year
  • Estimated incentives from SaveOnEnergy: $6,833, evaluation in progress

New chiller installed in the A-Wing (July 2018)

A new and highly efficient magnetic bearing chiller was installed to replace the existing A-Wing chiller. The new chiller uses less energy since it can operate without oil, which reduces the energy loss from friction and increases the heat transfer efficiency. The chiller provides cooling for the air handling units which provide 24/7 ventilation and cooling to all five floors in the A-Wing.

Greening Impact:

  • Energy saved: approximately 65,000 kWh per year
  • Incentive applied from SaveONenergy program, evaluation in progress

Last updated April 22, 2021