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Birmingham Heartlands Hospital implements major energy efficiency programme

Ener-g : 15 May, 2008  (Application Story)
Birmingham Heartlands Hospital has implemented a £5 million energy efficiency programme featuring a new Energy Centre installed by Ener-g Combined Power that is expected to save £688,000 a year, reducing carbon emissions and boosting resources for patient care.
The combined heat and power (CHP) scheme enables the hospital to generate its own electricity in a purpose designed Energy Centre, cutting emissions of CO2 by 1,627 tonnes per year – the equivalent of a forest of 2,503 trees – as well as reducing other harmful green house gases such as sulphur dioxide.

Birmingham Heartlands is a major general hospital managed by Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust in Bordesley Green, East Birmingham.

At the heart of the scheme is a new, aesthetically designed Energy Centre located near the hospital’s landmark main entrance. The new Energy Centre replaced ageing coal fired boilers which had served the Trust well for many years. The new system comprises a state-of-the-art gas fired ‘trigeneration’ system that creates electricity, steam or hot water for the winter heating and chilled water for use in the air conditioning systems during the warmer summer months.

Improving the chilled water system has allowed cool air to reach parts of the hospital that were not previously serviced, increasing comfort for patients as well as hospital staff.

Geoff Fox, facilities manager of estates at Heartlands, said: “We were attracted to this new system as not only will it save money and conserve resources, but it also complies with government targets to cut down carbon emissions and damaging greenhouse gas.”

The £5 million programme, financed by Ener-g Combined Power was structured around the principles of a Public Private Partnership contract, and included a £403,000 grant from the Carbon Trust under the Government’s Community Energy Programme. Ener-g Combined Power provides the trust with a guaranteed level of performance for the system over a 15 year period.

Ener-g Combined Power installed and maintains the purpose-built Energy Centre that houses a highly efficient combined heat and power system (CHP) plus other plant including steam raising boilers and an absorption cooling system.

The CHP system generates electricity and recovers the majority of the heat created in the process. In conventional power stations this heat is simply wasted into the atmosphere through power station cooling towers, much energy is also lost along the many miles of electrical distribution cables needed to bring the power to site. Instead, by using CHP to generate electricity on site the heat is used to provide heating, steam and hot water for the hospital in the winter, and, via the absorption cooling system, to also provide chilled water for air conditioning in the summer months.

The new Energy Centre accommodates an 1165kW CHP unit that uses an MTU gas engine. Chosen due to its compact and efficient design, this is capable of producing steam and is connected to the hospital’s main heating system. This unit is also connected to a 300 kW absorption chiller to produce chilled water from waste heat in the warmer months.

This means the existing electrically powered chillers will run much less frequently during the summer and that spare cooling capacity can be used to provide air conditioning to areas of the hospital which had not previously benefited from this.

Work has also been carried out to upgrade lighting with 1800 high efficiency, low energy fittings, which also further reduce emissions and energy costs.

Ener-g is an international group that offers a proven range of clean and efficient energy solutions, in cogeneration, renewable energy, energy management and energy from waste. The UK company has helped organizations reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 20 million tonnes.
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