Veterans Administration Healthcare Network Facility Energy Conservation Measures

The energy conservation measures (ECM) project at the Syracuse VA Medical Center includes the evaluation of many components to reduce energy use and green the facility. Some of the measures to be analyzed include:

  • Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs)—VFDs were installed on supply and exhaust fans, and adding electrically actuated zone dampers on the associated systems supply and exhaust ducts. New control dampers, electric actuators, and controls for every lateral duct branching from each systems main vertical duct, in multiple locations, was also included.
  • Heat Recovery—This project installed heat recovery from the chiller condenser water or other waste heat to pre-heat the cold water make-up to the domestic water heaters, provide an air side economizer for the hospital’s data center air conditioning system, repair of the insulation on the steam distribution plumbing, and install a steam trap monitoring system for multiple locations. Providing controls and alarms integrated into the existing building automation system (BAS) system was also included, as well as modifying the refrigeration unit for Building 16 to eliminate the use of domestic water as the condenser cooling medium. Kitchen hoods that automatically adjust for proper exhaust air flow were installed.
  • Energy Management System—Power monitoring, flow meters, and temperature sensors were added, integrating into the BAS for calculation and recording of energy use. Power monitoring of the chiller plant substation is accomplished with a digital power meter integrated into the BAS system, which is capable of monitoring and recording voltage, amperage, THD, reactance, power consumption, and power demand. A chiller plant optimization control strategy was developed to select the most efficient selection and control of the plant’s centrifugal chillers, cooling towers, air-cooled chillers, and plate & frame heat exchanger based on metered data.
  • Distributed Hot Water Boilers—Natural gas-fueled semi-condensing hot water boilers were introduced, providing hot water heat to the air handling units and hot water stations, and boilers are controlled by an optimization program to maximize energy efficiency.
  • Heat Recovery on Air Handling Systems—Heat recovery capability of the existing glycol run-around loop systems attached to the supply and return fans was improved.
  • Lighting Controls—Automatic lighting controls for common areas of the hospital that have unoccupied periods of operation were installed. The intent is to automatically turn off the normal power lighting and keep the emergency power lights lit during unoccupied periods.