Energy project to improve efficiency, sustainability of P.R. medical center

May 12, 2017

Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

More than $7 million in infrastructure upgrades are being implemented at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico, designed to save the facility more than $1 million a year in energy costs.

Schneider Electric, a leader in energy management and automation, is heading the effort that includes comprehensive facility improvements and upgrades that will enhance patient care, all delivered with no up-front capital investment through a guaranteed energy savings performance contract (ESPC), according to a press release. 

According to a recent VA Scorecard on Sustainability/Efficiency, only 15 percent of VA facilities are considered sustainable, and 23 percent of facilities are not on track to meet their energy intensity reduction goals. The partnership with Schneider Electric will provide new resources to help the VA close sustainability and efficiency gaps while also addressing budget constraints.

The upgrades will “dramatically improve the living and operating conditions in the hospital, and also help the VA achieve its energy conservation and sustainability goals with no impact on its operating budget,” said Jeff Sherman, director of federal energy and sustainability services for Schneider Electric.

Schneider Electric will guarantee more than $1 million in annual energy savings to the VA to fund the improvements over the life of the project. A significant portion of the work focuses on water conservation efforts to alleviate high water bills brought on by recent drought conditions and a remote water island environment, which drive up the price of fresh water.

By installing low-flow plumbing fixtures, the VA will be able to significantly reduce water consumption, which translates to tangible utility savings, officials said. Additional energy conservation measures include lighting, HVAC and advanced metering system upgrades.

Facility upgrades will not only reduce energy consumption, but also will directly impact patient comfort by way of improved lighting in patient areas and better efficiency and control of heating and air conditioning equipment. Savings will come from a variety of strategies, including:

  • Installing energy efficient LED lighting and occupancy sensors to turn off lights during unoccupied times
  • Replacing existing aged pump and fan motors with premium efficiency motors
  • Installing power-returned fan equipment with variable frequency drives
  • Upgrading high-flow plumbing fixtures with lower-flow fixtures

“Through our partnership with Schneider Electric, we’re able to achieve energy efficiency we never imagined was possible and deliver new levels of comfort and care to our patients,” said Sixto Ortiz-Diaz, energy manager for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Schneider Electric will work with local subcontractors for the installation phase of the project, bringing local jobs to the San Juan community. Construction is underway and scheduled to be complete in early 2018.

The project marks an expansion of a long-term collaboration between Schneider Electric and the VA. In addition to the work being done at the VA Medical Center in San Juan, Schneider Electric has completed similar projects at three VA New England Healthcare System (VISN 1) facilities, which will save $10 million in energy costs over the life of the projects.

 


Topics: Automation and Controls, Building Owners and Managers, Consulting - Green & Sustainable Strategies and Solutions, Energy Saving Products, Engineering Firms, Healthcare - Hospitals & Medical Facilities, Healthy & Comfortable Buildings, Lighting - Energy Efficient Lighting, Plumbing, Sustainable Communities, Technology, Urban Planning and Design, Water Saving Strategies and Devices


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