Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Nursing home design-builder chooses MTU Onsite Energy generator sets for critical standby power at 13 new facilities

MTU Onsite Energy generator sets were selected for their 85 percent 24-hour average load factor, which exceeds industry standards.

Burris Construction Company, a large design-builder of post-acute-care nursing facilities in the Northeast, has selected emergency standby generator sets from MTU Onsite Energy for 13 of its current healthcare construction projects. The generator sets range in size from 300 kW to 600 kW and will be used to provide emergency standby power at the care facilities in the event of utility outages. A major factor in the purchase was the ability of MTU Onsite Energy generator sets to supply an 85 percent 24-hour average load factor compared to the industry standard of 70 percent.

“Instead of just meeting basic regulations – where standby generators are able to supply only certain critical loads at a facility – we made the commitment that our standby power systems should be able to power the entire load of each facility,” said Bill Burris III, vice president, Burris Construction. “When we learned that these generators were capable of higher load factors than other generator sets, it meant we could have more confidence in our standby power during extended outages.”

During the selection process, Johnson & Towers, the MTU Onsite Energy distributor in New Jersey, shared a technical white paper with Burris that explained how generator sets with high 24-hour average load factor ratings can provide higher standby power capacity in extended outages. The average load factor capability also affects generator sizing and allows the use of a smaller generator set than would otherwise be needed.

“For example,” said Robert Shomo, senior vice president for sales of MTU Onsite Energy products at Johnson & Towers, “a 600 kW generator set with an industry-standard 70 percent 24-hour average load factor can only supply 420 kW during extended outages. If your electrical load is greater than 420 kW, then you would need a larger, more expensive generator set or risk damage to your unit. On the other hand, a 600 kW generator set with an 85 percent 24-hour load factor capability will supply 510 kW during extended outages – an additional 90 kW.”

“If I have to buy a 750 kW industry-standard generator set for thousands of dollars more to get the same kind of performance I get from a 600 kW with an 85 percent load factor capability, that’s a lot more generator than I need,” said Burris, who also is a voice of experience on extended power outages. “We had nursing homes in New Jersey and Connecticut that were once off the grid for three weeks because of storm damage. We wound up bringing in rental generators because the standard emergency units we installed there could not perform in an extended outage.”

According to Burris, the company’s construction projects have a heavy focus on energy efficiency and include such cutting-edge technologies as LED lighting, solar arrays, rainwater collection for operating toilets, geothermal heating/cooling, super insulation and even induction ovens in kitchens. In addition, even the ventilation system uses variable-drive fans that are computer controlled based on CO2 levels in the building.

“Instead of the fans running all day long, wasting energy by exhausting tempered air that has been either heated or cooled, they only run when they have to,” said Burris.

This focus on energy efficiency has reduced the power needs of Burris’ nursing facilities by 50 percent – which also reduces the size of the emergency standby generator set they need.

The first of the 13 new construction projects will be a 124-bed post-acute rehabilitation and skilled nursing care facility in Voorhees, N.J., to be operated by Genesis HealthCare, one of the nation’s largest skilled nursing care providers with over 200 facilities in 13 states. Designed and built by Burris Construction, the facility will focus on patient activities and engagement in rehabilitation and will include all private rooms and hotel-like services. It is scheduled to be completed in late 2012.

View/download PDF version of MTU Onsite Energy press release