Friday, November 22, 2013

On-site Power Increases Facility Resiliency and Preparedness

By Dana Halvorson and Peggy Connorton

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy last year, more than eight million people along the eastern seaboard lost power, and many residents of affected communities were forced to seek shelter elsewhere. For health care providers, losing power can wreak havoc on fragile residents, clients and patients. Studies have found that nursing home resident mortality rates can increase up to 218 percent following evacuation.

However, one solution energy managers can use to help keep the lights on and their residents, patients and clients safe, is called combined heat and power (CHP). These on-site systems produce both electricity and steam from a single fuel (often natural gas). The systems then recover heat that normally would be wasted in a conventional electricity generator, saving the fuel that would otherwise be used to produce heat or steam in a separate unit, usually at efficiencies of up to 80%. When designed to include the ability to operate when the grid is down - sometimes called islanding - they can offer reliability and disaster resilience.

While an investment to install, over the long-term, CHP has the potential to result in significant savings in future power bills and provide a reliable backup when the power goes out. To learn more about CHP, please click here or feel free to contact the Officer of the Clean Energy Program at the Pew Charitable Trusts, Jessica Frohman Lubetsky.

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