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Harborview Medical Center was awarded $50,000 by the Green Up program to invest in renewable energy.

Photo courtesy of Harborview Medical Center

Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, is nearly finished installing an almost 100-kilowatt solar array on the roof of its West Hospital building, making it the largest system of its kind installed on a hospital in the state.

The solar array, which will help to offset the energy needs and provide emergency backup power for the medical center, is the latest in a series of energy-saving projects undertaken by Harborview with its partner McKinstry Co. LLC., a Seattle-based design-build firm that focuses on energy-based retrofits.

"Harborview is committed to sustainability in our operations," says Pam Jorgensen, assistant administrator of facilities and engineering at the medical center.

"This solar project will help us meet our carbon-reduction goals, create redundant power for the West Hospital in case of an emergency and demonstrate the feasibility of solar power on health care facilities," she says.

Grants from Seattle City Light’s Green Up program and the Washington State Department of Commerce helped to fund the project. The Green Up program, which provides funding for local renewable-energy programs and projects, awarded Harborview $50,000.

The Department of Commerce’s Energy Efficiency and Solar Grants Program, which helps state and local agencies pay for energy-efficiency upgrades and solar installations, awarded Harborview an additional $47,000. 

In addition to the solar installation, the hospital’s roof is being replaced and insulation added to reduce the heating and cooling needs of the building. Coordinating the installation of the solar array with the roofing retrofit was more cost effective than doing the two projects in different years, according to Harborview.

McKinstry will manage the project, which is slated for completion before the end of this month. A&R Solar, a Pacific Northwest company, is installing the system.

Harborview and McKinstry have worked together for more than eight years to reduce energy costs and increase the reliability of the hospital's infrastructure.

Previous to the solar project, McKinstry helped to cut energy costs and increase reliability of the hospital’s infrastructure by upgrading lighting, replacing fans and upgrading the heating and cooling systems.

These projects together saved Harborview more than $500,000 annually and reduced the medical center’s carbon footprint by 155,394 pounds of CO2, equivalent to 232,110 vehicle miles not driven. 

Harborview has been nationally recognized for its environmental commitment. In 2016, the medical center was named one of the 50 Greenest Hospitals in America by one health care publication and also received a Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award from leading health care environmental stewards Practice Greenhealth, Reston, Va.

"Harborview Medical Center takes a long-term, systems perspective on their facilities," says Justin Fallstrom, McKinstry’s operations director for the Pacific Northwest.

“Every decision about their facility always comes down to the patients: patient health, patient safety and the ability for Harborview to continue to provide world-class care to all who walk through their doors," he says.

Harborview Medical Center is owned by King County, managed by the University of Washington and part of the UW Medicine system of care. Harborview is the only Level I adult and pediatric trauma center serving Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho.