Monday, March 7, 2011

Going Up in Smoke… Energy Consumption and Bassett Healthcare

Living in the rural area; power loses can happen frequently and Bassett healthcare in a proactive move, installed a required power back-up system. The purpose of the backup power was to ensure that Bassett could “provide uninterrupted patient care.” To put the need in perspective; if an 8-hour interruption occurs on their campus, the hospital could lose $1,000,000 in revenue. This information was published in an article titled “Power… Uninterrupted” that appeared in the Journal of Energy Efficiency and Reliability July-August 2008, where the author looked at Bassett’s search for self-sufficiency.
“Power outages are common,” emphasizes Joe Middleton, Bassett vice president for corporate support services and facilities planning. “But it’s not just a reliability issue; it’s a matter of system redundancy—we’re in a rural area with a single electrical feed and no natural gas service, so it became necessary to create our own secondary power source.”
The system is so successful that Bassett Healthcare set up a deal with the local energy company to pull off the grid for a few hundred hours a year, mostly in the summer time to fire up their OIL run generators.  To keep the system going, Bassett requires 45,000 gallons of fuel oil stored onsite. One of the oil run generators consumes 280 gallons per hour (or 6270 gallons per 24 hours)!  The generators use anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 gallons a day. 
Imagine the savings if Bassett could switch to a local natural gas source with a CHP co-generator while most importantly minimizing their carbon footprint.

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