Hospitals are typically heavy energy users, as ensuring patient care requires full-service operations 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Unusually high energy expenses prompted an energy audit at New Britain’s Hospital for Special Care (HSC), a 228-bed long-term acute and chronic care hospital with a full spectrum of outpatient services for children and adults. During the audit, failing systems were found to be causing an annual energy loss of $13,000.
Connecticut Natural Gas (CNG), a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc., provided guidance and a cost analysis for HSC to complete an energy retrofit at the hospital main building. CNG also identified funding assistance available through the Energize Connecticut program to help make the upgrades, which are estimated to save HSC $12,600 a year. By upgrading its steam trap system, the facility is able to run cleaner and with more dependable, energy-efficient solutions.
With no increase in operational funding, any project that could save money was much welcomed, according to Vice President of Facilities Donald Cyr. The energy audit revealed that 10 of the facility’s 100 steam traps were malfunctioning, creating an annual estimated loss of $13,000, said Facilities Supervisor Stefan Pazdzior. Steam traps are automatic valves designed to discharge, condensate and vent air. Steam is then converted to heat and fed throughout the 287,000-square-foot building. The work done replaced 10 steam traps and wrapped the piping with thermal insulation to prevent any further steam loss through pipe joints.
“Anywhere that we can conserve energy, we can see serious monetary savings, which brought us this opportunity to do the project,” said Cyr. “Companies are always presenting ways for us to save money and make upgrades to our facilities, and Energize CT and CNG made the process much more affordable. When we’re just trying to get by on our budget, these savings help tremendously. We also worked with local contractors, trying to be good neighbors and provide work to the local economy.”
The original hospital building was built in the 1940s, with an addition and complete renovation between 1989-1993.
“Each steam trap was tested to see if they were operating properly and to gauge any loss of heat,” said Pazdzior. “If one steam trap is failing, the boilers have to run more and use more natural gas… These projects show savings in the operating budget and helps with equipment maintenance.”
“Due to their size and round-the-clock hours, hospitals can realize major savings with even minor energy upgrades like the steam trap work done at HSC,” said Will Riddle, manager of Commercial & Industrial Energy Services at CNG. “Initiatives from Energize CT and CNG help make energy upgrades manageable, projects don’t have to be big budget to be effective.”
HSC celebrated its 75 anniversary in 2016. As it states in its name, HSC focuses on “special care” needs, with specialties in pulmonary care, acquired-brain injury care, complex pediatric care, spinal cord care, neuromuscular care, cardiac care and autism services. HSC has roughly 1,000 employees, 22 of which are engineers working to ensure the facility is running at its most efficient.
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Energize Connecticut helps you save money and use clean energy. It is an initiative of the State of Connecticut, the Connecticut Green Bank, Eversource, UI, SCG and CNG, with funding from a charge on customer energy bills. Information on energy-saving programs can be found at EnergizeCT.com or by calling 877.WISE.USE.
Hospital for Special Care (HSC) is the fourth largest, freestanding long-term acute care hospital in the U.S. and the only one in the nation serving adults and children. HSC is recognized for advanced care and rehabilitation in pulmonary care, acquired brain injury, medically-complex pediatrics, neuromuscular disorders including ALS research, spinal cord injury, comprehensive heart failure and comprehensive inpatient and outpatient treatment for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. Located in New Britain and Hartford, CT, HSC operates inpatient and outpatient facilities serving Southern New England and the Tri-State area on a not-for-profit basis. For the latest news and information, visit www.hfsc.org and follow HSC on Twitter @HospSpecialCare.
About AVANGRID: AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) is a diversified energy and utility company with more than $31 billion in assets and operations in 27 states. The company owns regulated utilities and electricity generation assets through two primary lines of business, Avangrid Networks and Avangrid Renewables. Avangrid Networks is comprised of eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving approximately 3.2 million customers in New York and New England. Avangrid Renewables operates more than 6 gigawatts of owned and controlled renewable generation capacity, primarily through wind and solar, in 22 states across the United States. AVANGRID employs approximately 6,800 people. For more information, visit www.avangrid.com.
About CNG: Connecticut Natural Gas (CNG) is a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR). Established in 1848, CNG serves approximately 176,000 residential, commercial and industrial natural gas customers in the greater Hartford-New Britain area, and Greenwich, Connecticut. For more information, visit www.cngcorp.com.
• Michael A. West, Jr.