Holistic approach creates greater energy efficiencies and intelligent building systems at SAHMRI

Medical research generates new ideas and innovation every day. To swiftly incorporate these developments into healthcare delivery, the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) is building a 25,000-square-metre facility to foster creativity and productivity. 

Together with Schneider Electric Life Sciences solution experts, SAHMRI will realise its vision of an intelligent and responsive facility. 

Key to the building's success was early engagement with Schneider Electric and the company's EcoStruxure architecture which provides users with a clear view across process, building control and physical security during the design phase. 

EcoStruxure integrates SAHMRI's building systems into a single platform that includes heating and cooling, energy management, security, and lab controls, to provide efficiency and flexibility throughout the facility's lifecycle. 

Icon status

Already destined for icon status on the Adelaide city skyline, SAHMRI's diamond shape construction, elevated on flower columns, also features a pine cone inspired transparent skin to allow in plenty of natural light into the building. It features wet and dry laboratory areas, modern research areas and even a medicinal garden.

"We need environments that encourage creativity, the right temperature, right lighting and right systems to ensure researchers are at their best, most creative and productive," says Professor Steve Wesselingh, Executive Director, SAHMRI. 

It is a theme reiterated by Michelle Gheorghiu, SAHMRI Project Director, "We are creating a hub of knowledge to instill passion into the young generation about research."

The backbone of the EcoStruxure architecture is the Integrated Building System (IBS), providing efficiency through a collaborative design, construction, and delivery process. 

The system design utilises 3D building information modeling software to avoid design changes and rework.

Because all components communicate with one another, the system allows the facility manager to monitor and control heating, ventilation, air conditioning, humidity, lighting, access control, video, lifts and other security features across the facility. 

Integrated security

The control of access and security was of critical importance for SAHMRI's objectives. Schneider Electric's integrated security offering including smart card access control, close circuit video management and high-definition cameras, and monitoring provided a safe, flexible and secure solution. 

The Video Management System designed for SAHMRI deploys the latest in Pelco by Schneider Electric's high-definition cameras. 

These offer increased capabilities for video analytics and identification – more than standard resolutions.

Lighting control

Another key component of the EcoStruxure architecture is Clipsal by Schneider Electric's DALIcontrol lighting control system, designed to maximise energy efficiencies in the building.

Although there are key scenes programmed into the building, the system also allows for customised programming in research areas that require constant lighting to simulate daylight levels of light. 

DALIcontrol also includes an emergency lighting solution. Test sequences have been scheduled into the operation and provide reports to the facility operator to confirm that the evacuation lighting is functioning properly. Clipsal has also supplied energy efficient exit light fittings for the entire building. 

Emergency power supply

It is critical in medical facilities to have the assurance that the backup power system will perform in an emergency. Schneider Electric's Emergency Power Supply System (EPSS) test solution provides automated analysis and accurate reporting as well as complete power system information.

It tests the back-up generator supply and gives reports on the precise timing of transfer switches, the condition and health of the generator, monitors EPSS load levels and duration of test. 

It makes manual testing obsolete, saving time and also collecting data during real outages. This ensures that the system is healthy and will perform if and when needed.

Power interruptions also have the potential to create data loss and hardware damage to communication and computer equipment. 

With 18 communication hubs located throughout the SAHMRI building, Schneider Electric is providing uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) to maintain power continuity and protect vital communications equipment. 

Energy monitoring

Many clients are now asking for more functional energy monitoring and reporting capabilities as part of their electrical distribution network and SAHMRI is no exception. Schneider Electric included their new StruxureWare Power Monitoring 7.0 (SPM7) energy management software platform to better integrate SAHMRI's energy metering. 

To achieve even better Power Quality and reliability outcomes for SAHMRI, Schneider Electric collaborated with electrical contractors, Nilsen, to upgrade the metering hardware to allow for better Power Quality event diagnostics and therefore ensure a shorter 'mean time to repair' should any electrical network issues arise.

SMP7 will allow the SAHMRI to monitor their entire installation from the Utility Grade Power Quality (PQ) Meter on their main incomer, to the PQ meters on their Sub sectional feeders; and via low voltage Masterpact air-circuit breakers and Compact NSX moulded case circuit breakers fitted with Micrologic control units installed on key sub mains.

SAHMRI's project design team including electrical services consultant, Aurecon also ensured sub-metering was installed strategically in specially designed distribution boards, to separately meter the power and lighting chassis. 


Schneider Electric partnered with local energy solution integrator AZZO to deliver this integrated technological solution to maximise the functionality and efficiency of the SAHMRI's electrical distribution network.

A facility such as SAHMRI requires an enormous number of pumps, fans and motors to ensure the HVAC system is operational. 

These consume vast amounts of energy, however the SAHMRI design team has conserved as much energy as possible with the addition of Schneider Electric's Altivar variable speed drives. These will limit energy usage on start up and allow for the precise control of heating and cooling through the IBS. 

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