Established in 2013, the Potsdam, New York-based St. Lawrence Health System is the largest employer in St. Lawrence County with 1,400-plus employees operating two hospitals and several extension outpatient facilities.

“At Gouverneur Hospital, they had just built an additional wing and continued to supply heat and hot water to it with their existing hydronic and domestic water system,” said Andy Leonard, president of ENI Mechanical, a mechanical HVAC contractor. 

That system was composed of a 5.4 million-Btu boiler that fed a 6,000-gallon storage tank and an older, inefficient 1.7 million-Btu backup boiler. Due to the additional workload, the boiler system was unable to keep up, and the hospital was experiencing situations in which the water would not heat to the required temperature setting. 

“The entire setup had become increasingly unreliable,” Leonard said. “The hospital maintenance staff had to continually work on the system to ensure that hot water was restored and at least one of the two boilers was operational.”

Howland Pump and Supply proposed a move to a modular boiler system to meet the hospital’s hydronic heating needs in the winter and a tankless system to supply their domestic hot water year-round. After deciding this was the best option, piping schematics for the domestic hot water system were produced by Brooks Washburn Architect. 

“Going from four recirculation zones and pumps to one while eliminating the need for storage reduced an unbelievable amount of inefficiency and operating cost,” Clark said. “Plus, the hospital was making efficiency improvements moving from 80% efficient boilers to 97% efficiency with Rinnai tankless.”

Mike Bajgot, technical support specialist, and Corey Nattinger, regional sales manager, both of Rinnai, walked the hospital building in mid-December 2018 to perform a fixture count and size the job. It was determined that four Rinnai TRS04CUiN Freestanding Tankless Rack Systems with a total of 16 engines supplying 3.184 million Btu would provide enough capacity and allow for future growth.

Installation began in March 2019. The hospital expects close to $18,000 a year in energy, maintenance, and repair savings and has the added benefit of increased redundancy and remote monitoring. 

“Using the Rinnai Control-R™ Mobile App, the maintenance staff can control and monitor the entire hot water system remotely,” Nattinger said. “With the redundancy of having 16 operable units, they are not having to respond to emergency ‘no hot water’ situations like they were before.”