Hospitals are typically heavy energy users, as ensuring patient care requires full-service operations 24/7. Unusually high energy expenses prompted an energy audit at New Britain’s Hospital for Special Care, a 228-bed long-term acute and chronic care hospital located in New Britain, Connecticut. During the audit, failing systems were found to be causing an annual energy loss of $13,000.
Connecticut Natural Gas, 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.
The original hospital building was built in the 1940s, with an addition and complete renovation between 1989 and1993.
“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.”