Belleville, NJ (PRWEB) May 16, 2014
A recent article in the ‘Garden State Focus,’ published by the New Jersey Chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), discussed the feasibility of Cogeneration (CHP) as a viable solution to the growing concern of wide spread power outages and their impact on hospital care in the Tri-State area.
“Whether it’s a weather-related power outage, or issues with the U.S. Grid, more hospitals are inquiring about Cogeneration and for good reason,” says Paul Errigo, Director of Business Development at GREENCROWN ENERGY. “It represents one of the most effective approaches to energy cost reduction, because it produces two types of energy at once — Electric Power and Thermal Energy. And equally important, it serves as an energy backup system by reducing the risk of power outages, while minimizing the extra cost charged by utilities for electricity during peak-use periods, known as demand charges.”
He points out that Cogeneration, also known as Combined Heat & Power (CHP), makes tremendous economic sense for hospitals. “When traditional utility power plants burn fuel to produce electricity, they also produce tremendous amounts of heat. This heat can represent approximately 70% of the energy content of the fuel used, which is vented into the atmosphere or depleted during line transmission and lost forever."
In contrast, Errigo explains, “with electricity being generated on site through Cogeneration, that very same waste heat is converted into usable energy that can then be available to augment existing boilers and chillers for heating and cooling, domestic hot water or steam, and sterilization. And here’s the best part: This captured energy comes at no cost to the hospital because it is a natural byproduct of the electricity produced!”
The case for Cogeneration usage in hospitals is backed up by the U.S. Department of Energy, which has said, “hospitals are ideal candidates for combined heat and power (CHP) systems because hospitals function 365 days a year, 24/7, and they require round-the-clock energy. CHP systems enable hospitals to reduce energy costs, improve environmental performance, and increase energy reliability. Resources saved are often redirected to improve patient care.”
According to Errigo, CHP helps to enable hospitals get lower, more predictable energy bills. Total system energy is improved when power is produced on site through a CHP system. By enabling hospitals to supply their own power, CHP systems provide a hedge against sometimes dramatically rising electrical bills.
But what about the impact of Cogeneration on hospital services during a major weather event, such as Hurricane Sandy? “According to an article written by the Association to Save Energy, the immense benefit of CHP was wonderfully demonstrated during Hurricane Sandy where many facilities with CHP kept the lights and heat on during and after the storm. Such facilities included housing complexes, as well as university and hospital campuses.
As for affordability, Errigo says that the energy consultants at GREENCROWN Energy can outline a number of attractive programs designed especially for hospitals and not-for-profit organizations that may not be able to take advantage of the huge incentives available. In New York and New Jersey, government incentives can currently pay for up to 50% of project costs.
“For others, a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) makes perfect sense,” Errigo explains. “It can provide hospitals all the benefits of CHP with no outlay required, and no operating and maintenance costs. A PPA provides an investment in a hospital by installing, owning and operating a CHP system at no cost in exchange for an agreement by the hospital to purchase all the energy the system produces at an agreed upon discount off the lowest secured utility rate. The hospital in turn gets an on-site power source and improves its bottom line by reducing the cost of electricity, heat, hot water and cooling."
He notes that “the hospital pays only for the energy it needs and would otherwise purchase from the grid, and it's at a discounted guaranteed rate." Savings and terms typically vary from 5 to 15% and from 5 to 15 years. Of course, Errigo adds, CHP enables a hospital to position itself as a green facility and environmentally reasonable – reducing a hospital’s carbon footprint by as much as 47% — "always an important positive.”
If you’re interested in learning more about the role CHP can play at your hospital, and the multiple electric and gas procurement programs available, contact an energy adviser at http://www.GreenCrownEnergy.com or call 877-308-2727 x 116.