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HVAC Management Strategies with Mike Holzkamper
Mike Holzkamper, Director of Facilities Management with Gateway Medical Center in Clarksville, Tenn., discusses key issues surrounding the hospital's HVAC system.
Director of Facilities Management,
Gateway Medical Center ,
When specifying HVAC equipment, how much emphasis did you place on energy efficiency?
At the time the decision was made for the HVAC systems, our parent company was Triad. They had experience and knowledge of efficient HVAC units and had already installed them in a number of their new hospital projects. They knew the importance and value they added to the overall plant.
What challenges did the department face opening the new hospital while shutting down the old one?
To name only a few, we had to get licenses through the Federal and State governments and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for boilers, the heliport, in-house radios, and EMS radios. We had to get state permits for boilers, elevators and steam vessels. Hospital road signage had to be planned with the city and the state. We met with utility companies to plan for the shutdown of old utilities. Then we had to do the final closing of the boilers, diesel tanks and elevators with the state offices. Luckily, we started planning a year out before the move.
What lessons did you learn from the process?
While we are proud of our early planning efforts and our very smooth transition to the replacement hospital, we learned that we could have started our processes involving government entities sooner. The paperwork takes a long time to process.
What type of training does the new HVAC equipment require?
We have had in-services and training on all the new equipment we support in the new hospital.
What role has the BAS played in achieving energy-efficiency goals and streamlining operations?
All heat and air calls start with the building-automation system. From the computer we can tell if the problem is the chillers, chilled-water supply temperature, chilled-water pumping system, boilers, hot-water temperature, hot-water heat-pumping system, air-handling unit, air handler set-point temperature, variable-air volume (VAV) in the space-output temperature, VAV set point temperature, or the thermostat set point. Most troubleshooting can be accomplished before the technician ever has to leave the computer.
The system saves time and money because you should know where to look for the problem and not spend hours trying to find it. It also keeps the end user much happier because the problem gets fixed sooner.