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Monday, September 13, 2010

New equipment reduces hospital’s energy use

From an article by Steve Rundio in The Tomah Journal:

Hospitals are complex energy users.

They operate 24 hours, seven days a week.

They have stringent requirements for temperature control and air exchange.

They use sophisticated equipment that can malfunction if a room is too hot, too cold or too humid.

Officials at Tomah Memorial Hospital have found an answer to their complex energy needs: a dedicated heat recovery chiller. The hospital received a $35,000 grant Thursday to help finance the $900,000 project that makes the hospital more energy efficient.

“The hospital is reducing its carbon footprint,” said Eric Prise, the hospital’s marketing director.

It’s also saving money. The new chiller has reduced the hospital’s natural gas bill by 47 percent since it was installed last March.

The chiller unit captures heat that is normally wasted in the building’s cooling process. Heat from the chiller is distributed into the hot-water system, which is used to heat sections of the building. Even during the winter months, air conditioning is used to maintain precise temperature control.

“In the interior of this building, it’s always August,” said Nick Roush of Masters Building Solutions based in La Crosse. “There are always things that add heat.”

The recovery chiller addresses the problem.

“We can handle heating and cooling with one piece of equipment,” Roush said. “It has no waste products associated with it. It’s most efficient when you have simultaneous heating and cooling.”

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