Watchdog is very pleased to be working with Penn State Health’s Hershey Medical Center campus. This is a new client for us, and we are excited to help deliver a successful project. This client is extremely well-versed in sustainability and green building. Prior to our relationship, Penn State Health Hershey Medical Center its energy-efficiency program, just six years after establishing the multi-phase program. The focal point of the project were the chiller plants, which were running efficiently but had room for improvement.
The chiller plant optimization project took aim at three chiller plants that cool 2.6 million square feet throughout the campus, including two hospitals, five institutes and the Penn State College of Medicine. A central plant with eight chillers and two satellite plants of two chillers each provide a total of 14,200 tons of cooling; the system also uses a 1.4 million-gallon, chilled water storage tank.
After implementing a solution about a year ago, the center’s twelve chillers are now running at peak efficiency, cutting electricity costs, using less water and reducing carbon emissions. Annual energy savings attributed to plant optimization have reached 4.2 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year, roughly 1 GWh more than was expected. Campus-wide energy intensity decreased 24% from levels reported in 2009.
The energy reduction has major financial rewards for the medical campus. These initiatives translate into electricity cost savings of about $300,000 a year. More than that, they received a one-time $416,000 efficiency incentive from the medical center’s electric utility.
Penn State Hershey Medical Center decreased its carbon footprint by 7 million pounds of CO2 emissions in the first year of operation. It’s also saving more than 1.4 million gallons of water per year as a result of the reduced energy consumption.
In order to execute additional efficiencies, Penn State Hershey Medical Center brought in a contractor to perform an engineering site assessment (ESA). The ESA proved the viability of optimization. Variable-speed drives on pumps and fans were installed to add power meters and sensors on system components and fully automate the manual plant.
Software programs were utilized to optimize the plant by automatically staging the chillers and the chilled-water storage tanks as an integrated system. The software continuously collects data about the plant operations and occupancy, outside conditions and hundreds of other parameters. Optimization streamlined chiller operations that had previously been performed manually and without a complete picture of the system.
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