Like a phone’s dial tone, uninterrupted power is often taken for granted until the power goes out and you need it. While power outages are a disruption for many businesses and organizations, for medical centers and clinics power loss can be life-threatening. As facilities age, the industry as a whole is seeing more demands for uninterrupted power in central plant specs.
A recent article in Energy Manager Today touted an FDA facility in Maryland that celebrated 500 days of continuous power, thanks to a central utility plant capable of providing localized power during storms and other disruptions. According to the article,
“White Oak’s success in maintaining uninterrupted power is, in large part, a direct result of a multiphase, $305 million energy savings performance contract (ESPC) project.”
The research center was divided into five groups of that shared utility infrastructure that is now more energy efficient, more secure and resilient, and capable of scaling for future requirements of the campus. Also, part of this project was the installation of multi-fuel, integrated central utility plant microgrid that is capable of operating the campus continually through external interruptions to the utility grid,
“Microgrids are localized grids that can disconnect from the traditional power grid to operate independently, helping important infrastructure remain energy-autonomous when power on the grid is unavailable or unreliable, as well as proactively monitoring the external grid and predicted weather patterns.”
The project is a perfect example of not simply upgrading aging central plants, but instead reimagining and redesigning the central plant to include power supply in addition to heating and cooling needs. It is an emerging trend that highlights the importance of engaging an experienced, highly qualified design-build team early in the planning process that is able to achieve the customers critical needs.
Specialized central plant contractors, like Greenland Enterprises, have the expertise to consider a full scope of options to a plant upgrade. Having these resources involved early in the planning process ultimately saves time and money, while resulting in a project that provides longer-lasting value to the facility and people served.
If you are considering an update to a central heating and cooling plant, it is a good time to speak with a Greenland representative about power options as well. Whether it is temporary power to mitigate construction downtime, or a permanent solution to augment local providers, having the conversation now can pay big dividends in the future.