Cost of energy to resiliency: Three top-of-mind topics for health care facility professionals

More than 3,000 health care facility and engineering professionals recently joined the 2019 American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) Annual Conference and Technical Exhibition in Baltimore, Maryland. The four-day event featured several sessions, yet three topics emerged above others during our discussions with participating health care facility professionals.

These three topics offer a mix of financial and operational opportunities for health care facility professionals. 

No. 1: Cost of energy continues to be a critical lever to deliver superior financials for health care facilities

Today’s modern health care facilities are not only tech marvels, but intense users of energy. In fact, hospitals are identified as the type of building with the second highest energy use intensity (EUI) by Energy Star1. A median size hospital would use over 12 times more energy than an average size office building. 

Healthcare - Cost of energy to resiliency
Health care facilities such as hospitals and medical offices have high energy use intensity. 

With this, it is no surprise the top two topics C-suite executives are most interested to learn about are cost control and expense reduction, according to Becker Hospital Review2. As this trend on cost control continues, health care facility leaders will increasingly be rewarded in their efforts to cut down energy costs. 

Typically, a health care facility acquires energy in the form of electricity from the power grid and separately burns natural gas to produce heat or steam. Purchasing electricity from the grid brings the advantage of convenience but at a significant cost for the health care facility. This cost is due to the inefficiencies in centrally producing the electricity and distributing it through large geographies. 

Healthcare - Inefficiencies in energy waste
Inefficiencies and energy waste in centralized generation result in higher energy costs for customers.

In comparison, on-site combined heat and power (CHP) applications can offer 70% to 90% efficiency while delivering electricity and heat to the facility. This heat and steam are commonly used for sterilizing medical instruments, keeping patients and staff at a comfortable temperature and maintaining facilities’ humidity level. Some facilities, such as Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, also pursue tri-generation to further improve energy efficiency. Tri-generation systems produce cooling in addition to heating and electricity offered by CHP applications.

This increase in efficiency could translate into an energy savings up to 35% for the health care facility, depending upon size and facility structure. Health care facilities with access to natural gas can take advantage of CHP applications with lean-burn engine generators that use natural gas as the fuel to produce electricity, heat and steam. These systems could be as small as 300 kilowatts or as large as several megawatts. For instance, a Sydney hospital partnered with Cummins on a cogeneration plant providing 4 megawatts electric of base load power to improve energy efficiency and to meet emission targets.

No. 2: Health care facilities can improve financial performance and resiliency with emerging power system technologies such as microgrids

Did you know that average U.S. electricity customer disruption was over seven hours in 2017, almost doubling the average disruption in 20163? Take a look at how changing weather patterns impact our grid and cause more power outages. Most health care facilities are legally required to have emergency back-up power systems. These systems provide peace of mind and security for the facility and its patrons but are also costly assets that might sit idle for most of the time. 

Facility leaders that aim to have superior financial performance are leveraging microgrids to monetize their energy assets, including existing emergency back-up power systems. A microgrid is a local energy grid with control capability, which means it can disconnect from the traditional grid and operate autonomously4. Microgrids commonly feature advanced control systems and software to track electricity prices and usage at the facility, and they decide whether to buy electricity from the grid or to produce it on-site through the microgrid assets. In summary, micro-grids convert the existing on-site power generation systems into financial enablers for the facility leaders. 

Facility leaders can also leverage microgrids for resiliency purposes. Microgrids take the resiliency of traditional emergency back-up power systems to the next level by integrating additional energy assets to the existing back-up power system. These additional energy assets could be electricity sources, such as solar photovoltaics and CHP generators, storage assets such as batteries, and control systems and software. Integration of additional assets creates redundancy in electricity generation and increases the resiliency of the system. 

No. 3: Health care facility leaders leverage digitization of power systems to manage their facilities

There is substantial news coverage on penetration of digitization in health care with respect to patient experience. On the other hand, not everybody sees the impact of digitization in health care with respect to facility management. 

While building management systems (BMS) have been around for decades, today’s BMS are ever more digitized as sub-systems ranging from heating and ventilation equipment to power systems being digitized. 

Digitization is also changing how health care facility professionals do their jobs; being more focused on preventative actions driven by rich analytics to avoid potential future issues. They are also increasingly partnering with vendors beyond a purchase transaction or service event. 

Let’s take health care power systems as an example. Modern remote monitoring systems such as Cummins PowerCommand Cloud help facility teams reduce downtime by providing teams remote access to make decisions and act on them quickly. Moreover, facility teams can partner with a local Cummins distributor, which can handle routine issues remotely and mitigate potentially serious situations by scheduling proactive service calls based on the data they see. 

In summary, health care facility leaders focused on financial gains could explore CHP applications to cut their energy costs, and microgrids to monetize their on-site power generation assets. Facility leaders focused on resiliency should also learn more about health care microgrid applications. 

To learn more about trends in the health care industry follow Cummins on Facebook and connect on LinkedIn. To learn more about power solutions for the health care industry, visit our web page. To learn more about how Cummins is powering a world that’s “Always On,” visit our web page.

Think your friends and colleagues would like this content? Share on LinkedIn and Facebook.

References: 
1 EnergyStar Portfolio Manager Energy Use Benchmarking. [PDF file]. n.d. (2012, October). Retrieved August 18th, 2019 from https://www.energystar.gov/ 
2 Lazerow, R. (2018, July 11). What 146 C-suite executives told Advisory Board about their shift in priorities this year. Retrieved from https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/
3 n.d. (2019, July 31). Annual Electric Power Industry Report, Form EIA-861. Retrieved from https://www.eia.gov/ 
4 Lantero, A. (2014, June 17). How Microgrids Work. Retrieved from https://www.energy.gov/

 

Aytek Yuksel - Cummins Inc

Aytek Yuksel

Aytek Yuksel is the Content Marketing Leader for Cummins Inc., with a focus on Power Systems markets. Aytek joined the Company in 2008. Since then, he has worked in several marketing roles and now brings you the learnings from our key markets ranging from industrial to residential markets. Aytek lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two kids.

Cummins fuels development of clean energy and makes bold move in technology

Cummins HSK78 Gas Generator Launch - China
Cummins recently launched the HSK78G natural gas generator series for the Chinese market.

Cummins officially launched the HSK78G natural gas generator series for the Chinese market with a targeted event held in Shanghai at the Dishui Lake Crown Plaza hotel. The aim of the event was to showcase the innovative gas technology this product offers for all prime and peaking power applications. The event comprised of 35 industry specialists, customer representatives and distributor partners coming from various regions and industry sectors in China.

The HSK78G generator series is designed to provide reliable power, regardless of the natural gas source or the climate, including extreme heat and altitudes. This new technology represents a bold step into the gas arena for Cummins, pushing new levels of efficiency, transient performance and gas variation well beyond former natural gas generators. 

"As a new member of the Cummins product family, the release of the HSK78G natural gas generator series in the Chinese market is a considered a flagship product. It not only marks that Cummins gas business has reached a new level in China but also provides new choices for the market," said Wang Lei, General Manager of the Cummins Power Generation Business for China Power Systems.

"This year is the 100th anniversary of Cummins Inc., and the HSK78G natural gas generator series with higher economic efficiency and lower operating costs will be a valuable gift for Cummins Centenary from Cummins gas business perspective," Lei added. 

Feng Jianghua, Deputy Director of the Distributed Energy Professional Committee of the China Energy Research Association, shared with the participants the prospects of distributed energy in China. Jianghua noted that due to the increasing demand for environmental protection from government departments, society and enterprises, natural gas as a clean energy plays an increasingly important role in the process of energy conservation and emission reduction, ensuring energy security. He particularly emphasized that China is bound to enter the natural gas era.

Following the successful global launch of the new HSK78G natural gas generator series at the 2019 Middle East Electricity (MEE) show at the Dubai World Trade Centre earlier this year, the HSK78G has already been successfully applied across mining projects in Australia and cogeneration projects in Belgium. During the event, Chris Downs, Global Marketing Leader of Cummins Prime Power Segment, provided a global overview of all the successful projects that have been delivered so far offering details on the project installation requirements and product benefits offered in each case.

In addition to the interactive presentations provided by Cummins product experts, attendees were able to gain a more comprehensive and in-depth understanding of the HSK78G series through a real-life display of the HSK78G generator model and a 360-degree virtual view of the product via an interactive touchscreen.

Cummins HSK78G Generator Launch - Chinese Market
A group of attendees become better acquainted with the HSK7G gas generator series through an interactive touchscreen display. 

During the product walk-around experience held by the Cummins Product Management team, attendees were able to ask questions and become better educated on the HSK78G’s product capability within the biogas, combined heat and power, and coal mine methane industry sectors which were identified to be the customers’ primary area of interest. The excellent and outstanding performance of the HSK78G gas generator series left a very positive impression on the guests. 

The first customer of HSK78G gas generator series in China, Shanxi Jiuding from New Energy Co., Ltd. also attended the event and was pleased to see the physical product being showcased. In the delivery of the series, the customer expressed great recognition for the Cummins brand and the HSK78G’s product capability in the application of distributed energy. 

The delivered HSK78G gas generator series will be applied to the 6MW coal methane distributed energy demonstration project in Xiyang County, Shanxi Province, to provide reliable power for a distributed energy project. Upon project completion, the HSK78G will continue to provide 6MW of electricity to meet the heating demand of 60,000 square meters and provide a constant temperature freezer of 10,000 tons of cooling capacity. The product’s high electrical efficiency of up to 44.2% (50Hz), high ambient capability of up to 55 degrees Celsius and market leading thermal performance of up to 47.1% were some of the primary reasons for selecting the HSK78G generator series for this project.

"It was my pleasure to be at the China customer event in Shanghai and to be with an engaged audience that were very excited about the launch of the Cummins HSK78G generator series," said Chris Downs, Global Marketing Leader of the Cummins Prime Power Segment. "The organization from all involved was exceptional and I am really looking forward to seeing orders soon." 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Hurricanes: More than a 'category'

Wind speeds aren't the only indicator of a hurricane's potential to cause serious harm or damage to your home and family. 

Labor Day weekend is typically a time for many of us to relax...but not this year. Hurricane Dorian slowed to a crawl as it made landfall in the Bahamas as a devastating Category 5 storm. The storm lurked off the Southeast coast for days, with residents scrambling to make last minute preparations. Although Dorian weakened as it moved northward, the once compact storm expanded, and tropical storm force winds were felt far from the storm’s center. 

As a Broadcast Meteorologist, I was out covering the storm, and one North Carolina couple told me that they "didn’t worry about a hurricane unless it was a category 4 or 5." This concerned me. We must remember that the Saffir-Simpson Scale only factors in the wind speed; not storm surge, rainfall or waves. Storm surge is the greatest threat from tropical cyclones. 

Storm surge is sea water pushed up and over normally dry land due to strong winds around a tropical cyclone or coastal system. Although storm surge pushes ashore at 5 mph or less, water is 800 times denser than air, making the force of the water nearly equivalent to category 3 force winds! To put this in perspective, Hurricane Sandy, which made landfall in the Northeastern U.S. as a post-tropical cyclone with category 1 force winds, was one of the most damaging (and costliest!) storms in U.S. history as a result of the storm surge.

Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the United States the morning of September 6th in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina as a category 1 storm. 4 to 7 ft. storm surge caused residents of Ocracoke Island, NC to flee to their attics and roofs to be rescued from being swept away by flood waters. In addition to storm surge, over 10 inches of rain fell in some areas, causing additional flooding. A saturated ground combined with strong winds led to downed trees and power lines, leaving many residents in the Southeast without power.  

In the end, Hurricane Dorian impacted people from the Bahamas north into Nova Scotia. More than 70,000 people in the Bahamas were left homeless. If you're looking to help those affected by Dorian, consider donating money or blood. But before you donate, make sure you're giving to a reputable charity:

  • Established charities are registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) and can be found here.
  • Never feel pressured to donate over the phone. All reputable charities should allow for donations through a website. 
  • Use Paypal or a credit card when making online donations and never pay via wire transfer.
  • Never provide your social security number, home address or other personal information to callers soliciting a donation.

Although Hurricane Dorian is gone, hurricane season doesn’t end until November 30. Are you and your family prepared for the next storm? Make a plan. Collect and inventory supplies. Secure your home and property. Don’t be left out in the dark – having a plan for backup power is key to keeping your family safe and comfortable during a power outage.

For more information on hurricane preparedness, click here. And be sure to sign up for the Cummins Home Generator newsletter to get valuable resources and tips to help your family weather the storm and save money.
 

Cheryl Nelson, Certified Broadcast Meteorologist

Cheryl Nelson

Cheryl Nelson is an Emmy-nominated and AP award-winning Certified Broadcast Meteorologist, TV Host, FEMA-Certified Instructor and Weather and Preparedness Advisor for Cummins. You can visit Cheryl’s website at www.PrepareWithCher.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook @CherylNelsonTV. 

Fall into Autumn with an epic national park road trip

Thinking of taking a trip this fall? Check out these tips for ensuring your home and RV are prepared for your departure before hitting the open road. 

We’re winding down summer with the final post in our summer travel series from "My Itchy Travel Feet." As we head into fall, Donna Hull shares details of a road trip she and her husband took to National Parks from Arizona to Canada

Each stop along the way is carefully curated to offer travelers the ultimate in natural beauty. Donna has you exploring on the edge at Grand Canyon North Rim; finding fall color at Grand Teton National Park; watching geysers spout off in Yellowstone National Park; admiring the crown of the continent at Glacier National Park; stopping at Lake Louise in Banff National Park; enjoying the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies; and returning to Canadian resort town of Banff to conclude your journey. 

Each stop along the way includes campgrounds, making this an ideal trip for RVers. If you’ll be making Donna’s epic 1,800-mile journey by RV, avoid be stranded on the side of the road by following these five tips:

  1. Get out and inspect everything.
  2. Top off coolant.
  3. Proper oil level on dipstick.
  4. Drain water out of the fuel water separator.
  5. Follow engine maintenance recommendations.

Each park in this journey closes by mid-October, so start planning now. Part of your planning should include preparing your home for your departure. The secret to keeping your home secure during your absence is to make it appear that someone is at home. That can be accomplished with four simple steps:

  1. Place a temporary hold on your mail or have a friend pick it up.
  2. Install timers on lights in and around your house. 
  3. Reach out to a close neighbor and ask if they would park in your driveway while you are away. 
  4. Consider upgrading your home’s security and automation systems ahead of a big trip. 

Key to keeping your home’s security, automation and appliances up and running is a continuous power source. A home standby generator like the Cummins QuietConnect turns on the moment a power outage occurs to ensure vital systems and appliances stay connected, even while you’re away. 

If you plan to be away for more than a week, Donna Hull has excellent advice for preparing your home for an extended vacation, including the importance of having backup power. In the event of a power outage, a whole house generator like the Cummins QuietConnect will keep your home’s security, automation and appliances up and running. And be sure to sign up for the Cummins Home Generator newsletter to get valuable resources and tips to help your family weather the storm and save money.
 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Three smart home investments to upgrade your daily life

Tips and tricks to help you get "smart" about your smart home upgrades.

Are you confused about the next smart home upgrade to make? Eric Murrell, founder of the smart home and technology blog "At Home in the Future," is back to share his latest smart home recommendations. These suggestions include a smart garage door opener to ensure your garage and its contents are secure; a smart lighting system to elevate your home’s mood for optimal entertaining; and a Cummins QuietConnect home generator so you’re never without life’s modern conveniences. 

Eric has been a passionate fan of the future since the age of seven. A web developer by trade, he currently serves as the Director of Communication and Technology for a large non-profit in Nashville, Tennessee. Eric and his family live in a high-tech home they designed themselves, making smart home gadgets and technology more than just a hobby for Eric. 

According to technology security giant Norton by Symantec, “Your internet-connected devices can add a level of convenience to your life, but they could also can make your home and connected devices vulnerable. That’s why it’s important to have a defense plan for securing smart home devices.” In a recent blog post entitled "12 Tips to Help Secure Your Smart Home and IoT Devices," Norton offers suggestions on how to make your smart home secure, including watching out for power outages that can compromise device security. A whole house generator like the Cummins QuietConnect Series ensures your devices stay online, even when utility power goes offline, by turning on automatically the moment an outage occurs. 

Before investing in any smart home upgrades, Eric Murrell suggests thinking about your family’s habits and how a specific technology can improve your daily life. Make sure you’ll get the most out of your investment by making smart choices.  For three smart home investments to upgrade your daily life, including a home standby generator, check out Eric’s latest blog post, "Modern Home Upgrades You’ll Actually Use." And be sure to sign up for the Cummins Home Generators newsletter to learn more about how a home standby generator can benefit your family. 
 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

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