St. E's chiller plant will be first step in energy project

The improvements should save the hospital $1 million a year in utility costs.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Work crews are building a $5 million chiller plant at St. Elizabeth Health Center, the first step in the hospital's multimillion-dollar improvement energy management project.
Wayne Tennant, director of facilities for Humility of Mary Health Partners, the hospital's owner, said the plant is the largest component in a $9.8 million energy conservation plan.
Officials expect the renovation project to pay for itself in energy savings within nine years.
The plant will chill water for the hospital's air conditioning system, Tennant said, replacing a network of smaller chillers throughout the 800,000-square-foot campus.
Workers will build a 6,000-square-foot addition to a storage building at the corner of Belmont and Lexington avenues to house the plant.
Tennant said the addition will have space for two more chillers to accommodate any expansions of St. Elizabeth's.
Bill Young, vice president of support services, said HMHP worked with Siemens Building Technologies in Cleveland to design the energy management project. Siemens is a a global engineering and electronics company, and its Cleveland office specializes in energy management.
What this means: "A lot of this is trying to make sure we're minimizing energy use," Young said. "We'll be reducing our water consumption, using alternative energy sources and reducing our use of electricity and natural gas."
HMHP is using cash reserves to pay for the improvements, he said, but the renovations are expected to save $1 million a year in energy costs. Planning began last summer, and the work is scheduled for completion by year's end.
The hospital will install a central, automated environmental control system which will regulate temperature and humidity to provide optimum conditions for patients.
The system is designed to eliminate hot and cold spots in the building and should reduce natural gas and electricity use, he said.
Other ideas: Plans call for installation of energy-efficient light fixtures designed to produce more light than the old fixtures with less electricity. Bathroom fixture replacements will reduce water consumption, and some windows will be replaced.
Laundry procedures will change with the installation of a tunnel laundry processing system, also called a continuous batch washer. The equipment will allow hospitals to wash, rinse and dry clothes and linens in one machine.