Studor Maxi-Vents proved the only viable technical drainage ventilation solution to fulfil the aesthetic (architectural), environmental and operational requirements for the unique low rise design of the new Monselice General Hospital (Nuovo Polo Ospedaliero Unico) in northeast Italy.
Conceived by specialist Italian building engineering architects, in conjunction with the multi-discipline company STEAM, Monselice’s new hospital project includes three buildings connected by large corridors over two floors, with an additional “technical top floor” to locate all the building engineering services and systems.
The development is predominantly horizontal in profile, both to minimise its visual impact on the sloping hillside landscape and also to respond to a need for greater functionality, given that this reduces patient transfer times. The covered area spans 37,500m², including units for diagnosis, treatment and hospitalisation with a capacity for 447 beds (of which one third are in single en-suite rooms), plus 27 operating theatres.
From the environmental perspective, the new hospital’s contemporary design needed to include technological innovations to reduce the consumption of primary energy by 30 % compared to equivalent structures.
In order to maintain the integrity of the aesthetically domed rooftops, the architectural design did not allow for any roof penetrations – this was a strict guideline.
The MEP contractor Gemmo, who was also responsible for the drainage system design, had the original idea to supply ventilation for the extensive system through two vent pipes, connecting all stacks, which would project out of each side of the three buildings. Due to their relationship with the technical office of Bampi (Studor’s Italian distributor), Gemmo sought their help with this idea, which they duly referred to Studor (recognising that this needed input from an expert in drainage ventilation).
Supported by scientific evidence from the world-renowned Drainage Research Group of Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, it was proven that this concept was impossible to realise, not only being technically unviable, but also not being supported by any recognised building code.
The simple solution identified was to cap as many stacks as possible with a Studor Maxi-Vent within the roof space; the ideal technical solution, not only as it responded to the architectural and aesthetic need for no rooftop penetrations, but is also very much in line with Monselice General Hospital’s overall environmental impact strategy.
The Studor Maxi-Vent advanced Air Admittance Valve (AAV) protects the trap seals in the hospital’s drainage system by allowing the intake of air so that each soil pipe can maintain the right level of pressure within the system – especially in a hospital environment, this is critical to ensure that there is no cross-contamination from the drainage system into the habitable space.
By eliminating the need for roof penetrations, as the Studor Maxi-Vent fits discretely within the roof space, it also reduces the amount of pipework required. As the integrity of the roof is maintained, thermal heat loss is minimised versus traditional open vent pipes to the atmosphere that penetrate the roof. When this is combined with the reduction in materials required, the Studor Maxi-Vent solution offered significant ecological benefits which aided the hospital’s objective of reducing its environmental footprint.
The Studor Maxi-Vent was found to be the only technical and legally recognised solution to the drainage ventilation needs of the leading Monselice General Hospital. As a result, 100 Maxi-Vents were installed and the architect’s aesthetic vision was realised.