ROCKPORT, Maine — A major energy efficiency project at Pen Bay Medical Center is expected to produce financial savings and environmental benefits.
Pen Bay Healthcare, the parent organization for the hospital, announced the work in a news release issued Monday. The annual savings are projected at more than $550,000 per year. In addition, nearly all the soot from its smokestack would be eliminated.
A new fuel storage tank was installed, and two existing, smaller tanks were converted to be able to use use liquid propane gas. The energy system also can be fueled by No. 2 heating oil if necessary. Before the conversion, the hospital was using No. 6 heating oil, which is considered far more polluting.
“Pen Bay Medical Center now has the capability to burn a more environmentally friendly fuel and in the event of an emergency can operate the heating system for roughly twice as long without a fuel delivery,” the news release states.
Burners inside the boiler plant also have been updated, which means the hospital is able to burn cleaner fuel at a higher efficiency, which further cuts down on emissions, according to Pen Bay.
In addition, every toilet in the facility — 157 in all — was replaced with a low-flow flush unit. Restrictors also were installed on all bathroom sinks to regulate water used per minute, low-flow shower heads have been installed and bed pan sprayers have been refitted for high pressure, low flow.
In the hospital kitchen, the convection steamers and dishwasher have been replaced with more water efficient units.
Pen Bay also had 2,677 lighting fixtures modified or replaced with high-efficiency fixtures and lamps. This includes 52 external fixtures on the building and around the hospital parking lots. Wherever possible, light emitting diode fixtures were used to replace older fluorescent or incandescent units.
In addition to cost savings, Pen Bay Medical Center will eliminate about 98 percent of the soot previously generated at the facility. Greenhouse gas emissions also will be reduced by an estimated 1,046 metric tons equivalent per year, which Pen Bay states is equivalent to 200 vehicles being taken off the road.
Pen Bay Medical Center already is seeing significant reductions in water consumption and is looking forward to the final review of the project to determine the exact savings.
“This is a great project for Pen Bay Healthcare and our community. It’s been a unique opportunity to improve the comfort of those using the building, increase the efficiency of the plant and gain a dramatic improvement in our environmental profile,” Louis Dinneen, vice president of engineering and facilities at Pen Bay Healthcare, said in the news release.
Pen Bay expects to recoup the cost of the project in six years.
The projects were undertaken after Pen Bay Healthcare contracted last year with Energy Systems Group.