In the past three years, South Carolina-based Prisma Health has gone from having zero ENERGY STAR hospitals in its system to now having two. In that same time, it also has made headway as an Energy to Care participant, with three hospitals being Energy to Care award recipients — one in 2018 and two in 2019.
As Prisma progresses in energy efficiency, Jacob Warner, CEM, energy manger, suspects the recognitions will continue thanks to a simple, low-cost solution.
“[Our engineering director] introduced me to a group called FacilityConneX, which is a fault detection diagnostic and continuous commissioning firm,” Warner says. “We began this with a pilot program at Patewood Memorial Hospital [Greenville, S.C.] and immediately started finding things we could correct.”
The hospital deployed fault detection diagnostic software across its entire building management system but soon found that its most cost- and energy-saving opportunities lie in its air-handling units and chilled water system. Some of the biggest culprits of wasted energy use came from leaky water valves and faulty valve actuators and damper actuators. After correcting these issues, Patewood Memorial Hospital saw its energy costs and usage drop, with more than $1 million saved since deploying the software.
After realizing low-cost, high-payoff benefits of the software, Prisma began rolling out the initiative to more facilities. Learning from the results of Patewood, Warner decided to home in on deploying the software to monitor air handlers with a horsepower of 25 or higher. To date, the system has saved nearly $2.5 million and made significant reductions in energy use. The software is now being used at 10 campuses with two more to go.
“It’s always a challenge for engineering departments to get capital money for improvements,” says Mark Dease, CHFM, engineering director. “This solution gave us a low-cost alternative that allows us to be proactive and fix things quickly. We’ve spent very little money in correcting what we’ve corrected, but have seen a big payback.”