institutional building: hospitals
Hospitals are good candidates for CHP systems since they operate 24/7/365 and therefore have high thermal and electrical needs. CHP systems allow hospitals to become less reliant on the grid permitting functional operation during “brown outs” and “voltage sags” or local and regional events that would otherwise cause life critical systems to fail if power was generated off-site. CHP systems also provide more reliable power to hospitals and support an operation in which digital medical records, RFIDs, and computerized pharmacy prescriptions are used—if the power were to go out, operations would be significantly hindered in such an environment. Hospitals are often located in major cities that rely on a stressed and outdated grid that is likely to experience blackouts. The uninterrupted power supply that CHP systems provide is essential to the operation of any hospital. CHP systems are also capable of increasing overall efficiency by as much as 50% compared to systems without CHP and therefore are more environmentally friendly. Energy costs are significantly decreased with the use of CHP systems and can even pay for itself in the long term. The benefit to patients from an onsite CHP system is substantial in that hospital care and room comfort can be maintained free of interruption. Examples in which long term power interruptions led to full shut down of hospitals can be found associated with hurricanes Katrina/Rita. Already, more than 200 hospitals and healthcare facilities nationwide are utilizing CHP to lower energy costs by up to 50% and decreasing power outages and interruptions by up to 95%.
Even the smallest hospitals can utilize CHP systems to its full potential.
CHP systems recover the heat that is normally lost in a typical generating
system’s exhaust and cooling system to ambient and uses it to
provide heating, cooling, and dehumidification that is required to make
patients comfortable. A typical CHP installation would involve electric
generation equipment such as microturbines, reciprocating engines, or
gas turbines, heat recovery systems to capture the waste heat to generate
steam and/or hot water that can be used directly or used to drive an
absorption chiller to run the cooling system.
Introducing a CHP system into a hospital enables the facility
to become more energy efficient thereby benefitting the facility’s
operational budget. Hospitals that are less reliant on the grid allow
the cities that they are located in to be more prepared for natural and
domestic disasters as well as terrorist attacks. Furthermore, hospitals
utilizing CHP systems are able to brand themselves as “green” and
environmentally friendly and improve their public image. In California,
be sure to review requirements due to the Office of Statewide Health Planning
and Development Facilities Development Plan (OSHPD).
Where to turn for additional information
A number of resources are available to assist in the process of evaluating the potential for CHP at your facility. Many of these are available through the PRAC website.
Case studies can be an effective manner by which to evaluate how your facility might benefit from CHP. They can also provide information on lessons learned and steps that can be taken to maximize the success of your application. One such case study is the Dell Children's Medical Hospital and the Beloit Memorial Hospital
Some more case studies can be found in this audio presentation: Energy Saving Solutions for Hospitals
Feasibility Studies/Project Assistance
A number of options are available for low cost or free feasibility assessments to help you understand how CHP might benefit your facility. The California Energy Comission provides energy efficiency financing for projects: http://www.energy.ca.gov/efficiency/financing/index.html
can be found on the CHP Gulf Coast website:
If you are considering implementing a CHP system at your facility, these
articles might be able to help you make your decision easier: http://files.harc.edu/Sites/GulfCoastCHP
If you’re ready to take the next step with CHP technologies, this could be a good source to pursue: Alternative Energy: Putting all the pieces together,By Karen Sandrick