Setting Priorities for Efficiency
By Kathleen Stanley, CEM, CLEAResult Consulting
Kathleen Stanley from CLEAResult Consulting sat down with Sturdy Memorial Hospital’s utility manager Russ Reeves to discuss the success he has had in energy efficiency for the hospital. Russ has experienced great results over the past several years in his efforts for energy efficiency at Sturdy Memorial Hospital. He has seen an electricity usage reduction of 11.67 percent—or 1,489,000 kWh—since 2010, and an overall cost savings of $848,520. These results are quite an accomplishment for Russ’s team. Russ maintains that sticking to the fundamentals will pay off. His priorities are number 1, safety; number 2, reliability; and finally number 3, cost savings. He continues to use this hierarchy to make decisions and it has served him well. His advice for a new engineer coming into a facility is as follows:
Sturdy Memorial Hospital
Russ has worked over 35 years in the Power Plant Industry and the last 6 years in Health Care. Russ holds a First Class Stationary Engineers License from the state of Massachusetts. He has taught stationary engineering and maintains a website Massengineers.com.
- Understand that maintenance and utility costs are a financial burden on all hospitals. By improving the reliability of equipment and reducing energy costs, a manager can improve the hospital’s bottom line.
- Learn about your systems. The more you know about the different systems, the better you will understand any weak links. Address redundancy and reliability and tie them into any capital upgrades that you pursue. In one scenario, Russ was able use a controls upgrade to improve reliability for the chiller plant, which allowed him to better use his team and implement energy savings.
- Choose vendors that align with your goals and priorities. Vendors must share the priorities of the team and help to identify areas that can be improved, build better resiliency into the system, and step up the level of performance.
- Gather electric and fuel bills, log data usage, and study trends. Understanding where you start is important to identifying the changes your work produces. Russ and his team have implemented many great projects such as LED lighting for outdoor spaces, LED retrofit to the hospital itself, steam trap survey and testing, and pipe and valve insulation. He ties these projects back to improvement of resiliency and redundancy when possible. A substantial amount of utility incentive also improves project financials.
- Create an environment for your team where they want to contribute. Russ’s team knows that they always have his ear if there is an idea or an observation to share. One of his maintenance team members observed a motor running continuously on an elevator and brought this to his attention. The team corrected this problem and the savings were substantial. The problem would have been difficult to find without this maintenance team member’s awareness.
Russ is passionate about saving energy and improving the performance of his plant. His passion is contagious, and his team is proud of their accomplishments. While it gets harder to keep improving on energy efficiency once you have implemented the easier projects, this team is up to the task of continuous improvement. They are looking at CHP (combined heat and power), solar power, and the overall efficiency of their chilled water plant and improving resiliency as well.
About the Author
Kathleen Stanley, CEM, is an energy professional with more than 25 years of experience working in the energy industry. Ms. Stanley has held positions in energy utilities, ESCOs , energy efficiency firms, and energy supply companies and has owned her own energy consulting firm. Ms. Stanley has worked in sales and business development focusing on public entities, industrial users, institutional users, and other large energy users. She is a board member of the Association of Energy Engineers, New England Chapter, the chair of the AEE New England Technical Roundtable Event Series, and a past president. Ms. Stanley holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island and is a Certified Energy Manager.
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