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By Dan Hounsell, Editor
February 2010 -
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While the boilers might have been relatively small and the space to install them limited, the savings the project generated for the hospital's bottom line were decidedly large.
"That figure surprised even us because there wasn't enough information out there to enable us to determine the payback," Milewski says, adding he and Clifton knew they were taking a calculated risk by installing the new boilers because the units more commonly had been installed in factories, not hospitals.
"We knew we were rolling the dice on how efficient they were going to be because there was not a lot of history on these boilers," Milewski says.
The units have a smaller footprint, so the steam plant is able to generate the same horsepower in about one-half the space, compared to the previous boilers.
Finally, the multiple-boiler installation allows operators to turn the units on and off as needed to meet the hospital's steam and heating needs, instead of being forced to run all three units at once.
In fact, Clifton says, the 100-hp unit by itself is efficient and powerful enough to meet the hospital's entire heating load in the summer.
Word about successful installations and savings spread quickly among managers in institutional and commercial facilities. In the last five years, Clifton says he has fielded about 150 calls from peers in other facilities asking for his opinion on the boilers' performance and payback.
He says managers specifying this type of boiler need to ensure the vendor becomes involved early in the process because engineering firms might not have experience with vertical boilers, resulting in a less-than-ideal selection based on the facility's needs.
Says Clifton, "Engineering firms are more used to sizing conventional boilers, not vertical boilers."
Boiler Retrofit: Space Constraints Pose Installation Challenges
Vertical-Type Boilers Use Floating Head Design
Multiple-Boiler Installation Creates Energy, Cost Savings
Department of Energy Offers Tips to Manage Steam Systems