The hospital’s heating, cooling and boilers were in the building’s basement for 50 years, until the building flooded in 2009. Now, the new system is housed in a separate two-story building next to the main hospital.
Tom Abele is the vice president of Harshaw Trane, which constructed Saints Mary and Elizabeth’s new system. He says the equipment is designed to minimize energy waste, which means some of the components do double duty.
“We use one of the air conditioners to actually create hot water for free,” Abele said. “So while we’re air conditioning the facility we use a special piece of equipment, instead of rejecting that heat outside like a normal air conditioner does we reject that heat at a higher temperature and we make hot water for use in sinks and showers.”
Saints Mary and Elizabeth Hospital President and CEO Jim Parobek says the new system makes economic sense for the hospital, too .
“The plant cost $16 million and we think in the energy savings, that it’s going to take about 21 years to pay it back, but that’s a fairly significant savings you can get just to go ahead and pay it off,” he said. “It may seem like a long time, but it will pay for itself over a number of years.”
He estimates the facility will reap about $300,000 a year in energy savings.