The combination of our FLU-ACE® heat recovery system and GEM™ steam traps installed at one of the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust’s hospitals received the Highly Commended designation for improving sustainability and reducing energy at the 2016 Building Better Healthcare Awards.
The FLU-ACE heat recovery system (ordered in January of 2015) works by drawing off the waste gasses from the hospital’s boilers instead of letting it escape up the chimney. These gasses are then put through a unique heat recovery technology that condenses the gasses, releasing all the available energy within them. This means that instead of exhausting to atmosphere at 200°C, which creates a visible “plume” of wasted energy at the boiler house, the hospital can use all the energy and exhaust at 31°C instead, making it 99% efficient.
This energy is used on site to heat 20m3 of water for heating, and 6m3 of water for domestic hot water, every hour of the year. This in turn means that the boilers have to do less to keep the same amount of hot water flowing around the hospital, so the amount of natural gas used drops.
We had previously installed our GEM steam traps on site. Unlike a conventional mechanical trap, our venturi orifice GEM steam traps enable continuous condensate discharge. Our traps are specifically sized to the application. Therefore the live steam loss through our GEM steam traps is significantly lower than the loss through a conventional mechanical trap. By switching to the GEM steam traps on all of the hospital’s distribution lines and processes, the same amount of hot water is produced whilst reducing steam consumption by 11%. All the new GEM steam traps are covered by a 10-year no-fail guarantee.
The Trust was able to fund these projects with Salix funding, where the payments to Salix were less than the savings, meaning the hospital would be cash positive all the way through.
The projects were set to reduce the Trust-wide CO2 emissions by 968 tonnes per annum, which is a remarkable 7% reduction on 2010/2011 levels, and also put the Trust firmly on track to over achieve the savings stipulated by the government.
Combined, the projects were expected to provide the hospital with annual savings of approximately £170,115, mainly as a result of a reduction in fuel usage, steam savings, and maintenance savings. However, the projects achieved the financial and CO2 savings in the first eight months of the year, meaning the projects have over-performed.
Based on the success of these projects, the Trust ordered an extension to the original heat recovery system (which will double its effectiveness on site and add redundancy to all of the plant rooms, making the patient environment more stable and reliable), as well as two heat recovery systems and one GEM system at the Trust’s other two hospitals.
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About the Building Better Healthcare Awards
The Building Better Healthcare (BBH) Awards are held each year to celebrate innovation and improvement in the built environment, medical devices and people working in the healthcare industry. The BBH Awards is a prestigious event run by Building Better Healthcare, which is an established information portal that provides the healthcare building community with a one-stop service for all the latest news, views, best practices, suppliers and guidance to any aspect of healthcare estates and facilities. The BBH Awards are run annually and attended by over 500 representatives from the NHS and healthcare industry.