Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro, Massachusetts, is saving energy after teaming up with Shannon Enterprises of W.N.Y. Inc. and Shannon Energy. Shannon installed reusable, custom-engineered thermal insulation throughout the hospital’s mechanical rooms and steam distribution system. 

Since completing the project in December 2017, the hospital’s campus has reduced natural gas use by approximately 8,000 therms per month. The hospital has also seen temperatures in its mechanical rooms drop by approximately 15ºF.

According to the hospital’s facilities operations department, after running a month-to-month heating-degree-day, gas-use comparison for the last two years the facility appears to be saving approximately $70,000 annually on natural gas with the reusable blankets. The payback is on track to happen in about 13 months. In July 2017, before the hospital installed the reusable insulation, it used about 48,000 therms; last July, the facility used only 40,000 therms. This is savings off the base load of the facility, and, therefore, occurring every month.

According to facilities personnel, to maintain and operate the hospital’s steam system, workers often removed insulation from system components but had no easy way to re-insulate the components because the material was not reusable. The hospital sought insulation that its facilities team could remove and reinstall to allow for maintenance and thermal integrity.

A key to approving the project was obtaining a rebate from Columbia Gas, the natural gas provider for Sturdy Memorial. Bob Mulvey, director of sales at Shannon Energy Resources, worked with Sturdy Memorial to present Columbia Gas engineers with energy surveys and savings calculations for 244 components across the campus. After reviewing the project, Columbia Gas provided a 50% incentive to Sturdy Memorial Hospital toward the cost of the insulation project.

According to the hospital’s facilities staff, with the reusable blanket insulation in place, the energy savings that the hospital is recouping means it will essentially operate its boilers during the month of December for free, every year.

“Health care systems have by now improved things like lighting,” said Frank Kovacs, president of Shannon. “But reusable insulation engineered and installed correctly is the next big area of energy savings for health care facilities.”