HOT dogs are helping slash heating bills at an animal hospital.
Body heat from the poorly pets and their owners is being channelled to help save energy costs from spiralling.
The sophisticated system at the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) PetAid hospital, in North Hylton Road, Castletown, utilises body heat and surplus energy from electrical equipment to power the building.
As well as helping to warm consulting rooms, offices and operating theatres, it also plays a part in heating the centre’s water supply.
Now the £1.6million hospital, which opened last year, has been honoured at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) North East Renaissance Awards, beating tough competition to win the sustainability category.
Newcastle-based Anthony Keith Architects incorporated the energy-efficient system into the design of the hospital, which means it does not need a traditional boiler.
A heat pump extracts warmth from the outside air, which is boosted by a second pump, captured body heat and solar panels.
A computerised management system then transfers heat to parts of the hospital where it is needed most.
“When it comes to body heat, the animals do help,” said architect Anthony Keith. “It all goes into the mix. We can move the heat around and water is also heated as is the floor, because animals lie on the floor.”
The Wearside hospital employs six vets, eight nurses, five receptionists, four veterinary care assistants and three animal care auxiliaries and treats animals whose owners are on benefits and can not afford to pay.
It includes a waiting room, six consulting rooms, two operating theatres, a dental suite and x-ray facilities.
The award judges singled it out for special praise.
“The PDSA Hospital building represents an evolution of design,” they said.
“Through the clever use of available technology, the building makes the most of heat generated by the users of the building to store and re-use energy, providing a sustainable source of hot water and warmth, and removing the need for a main energy supply to the building.”
Two other Sunderland-based projects were recognised among the region’s top developments at this year’s RICS North East Renaissance Awards, which were presented at Newcastle Civic Centre.
Transforming Hendon took the top prize in the Regeneration category, while the £7million refurbishment of Sunderland Station was highly commended in the Design and Innovation category.