Madera Community Hospital Benefits from their Decision to Go Green

Madera Community Hospital has received an incentive of more than $58,000 from Pacific Gas and Electric Company for ongoing initiatives to improve energy efficiency.

In October 2011, MCH hosted a ribbon cutting to mark the completion and start up of a 1.2 MW ground –mounted solar array and unveil a new central utility power plant that was under construction. That new power plant is now complete.

“The addition of the new central plant is necessary to add infrastructure capacity for future growth and replacement building and equipment. These improvements are expected to contribute to over $1.0 million in savings for the hospital over 20 years by reducing energy costs,” said Jim Johnson, Facility Director for Madera Community Hospital.

The new central plant will allow MCH to upgrade with new, higher capacity equipment, capable of serving the facility in its long range plans. The 13,000 square foot central plant facility includes central chillers, boilers, medical gas, vacuum systems, electrical equipment and emergency generators for the entire hospital facility.

The new central plant project involved the replacement of three 120 ton air cooled reciprocating chillers and one 350 ton water cooled centrifugal chiller totaling 710 tons in capacity with one 700 ton water cooled centrifugal chiller. A second 700 ton water cooled centrifugal chiller has also been installed to serve the hospital once it expands. The project also involved the replacement of one older 6.5 MMBtu/h hot water boiler with two smaller and more efficient 2.0 MMBtu/h hot water boilers and the replacement of one 1.2 MMBtu/h older steam boiler with two smaller and more efficient 0.4 MMBtu/h steam. The new water cooled centrifugal chillers and the new steam and heating hot water boilers save energy because they are far more efficient than the older units they replaced.

The savings for the equipment is equal to 158kw, 247,500kwh, and 5,700 therms. Plant functions involve central heating, cooling, emergency power, electrical equipment, medical and other gas storage and maintenance functions.

MCH will continue to benefit for years to come for their decision to go green due to the installation of the solar array and building of the new central plant.

“The hospital paid no out-of-pocket cost, is getting approximately 45% of its power needs from the green solar system and has hedged the cost of that energy for 20 years at a rate lower than their previous utility cost," reports Nate Whigham, project developer, Borrego Solar, San Diego. “The solar initiative was financed through a 20 year power purchase agreement (PPA). This structure made sense for this project because Madera is a tax‐exempt entity and many of the incentives for solar are tax-related. Under this structure, Borrego Solar takes advantage of the tax incentives, which allows us to provide energy to the hospital at such a low cost." Borrego Solar projects the fuel from the sun will replace the burning of more than 121,000 barrels of oil over the lifetime of the installation.

While many acknowledge that use of renewable and alternate energy sources and related environmental stewardship is integral to our primary mission of supporting and enhancing public health and wellness. With the support and encouragement of PG&E and commitment that MCH has made to energy efficiency and sustainability not only benefits patients and the community, it also sets an example for other healthcare faclities to follow," said John Frye, Chief Executive Officer, Madera Community Hospital.