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Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center earns PEER certification

Medical Center awarded platinum-level certification for energy conservation efforts

The culmination of more than a decade of policy changes and improvements, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center has earned the highest-level certification for the resiliency, reliability and sustainability of its power systems.

Performance Excellence in Electricity Renewal (PEER) certification from Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) is the world’s first certification program that evaluates the resiliency, reliability and sustainability of power systems using a range of criteria.

Since 2010, the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center – the campus of which includes Penn State College of Medicine – has been working to create a more sustainable power system. By implementing an energy conservation program, Hershey Medical Center has reduced its energy consumption by 20%. This has led to both reduced carbon output and financial savings.

To ensure it can continue providing lifesaving medical care in the event of a power outage, the Medical Center must have uninterrupted access to a fully functional power grid equipped with backup systems.

“The PEER certification process forced us to step back and holistically consider the campus as a microgrid, and weigh renewable energy and sustainability possibilities,” said Kevin Kanoff, campus energy engineer.

Platinum PEER certification from GBCI is the highest possible award, signifying a commitment to energy efficiency and reliability. Out of 110 possible points, Hershey Medical Center earned 85. One infrastructure project that helped to achieve these ratings is the combined heat and power unit, which supplies 75% of the Medical Center’s energy. The Medical Center also met the goals of supplying an alternative power supply for 100% of all project loads and updating and optimizing HVAC and lighting systems to be more efficient.

“The PEER certification process provided us with the means to further evaluate our environmental performance through established metrics, and identify areas where we have excelled as well as opportunities for improvement as we strive to be a leader in environmental practices within the health care industry,” said Mark Heisey, facilities compliance program manager and Campus Sustainability Council Environmental Subcommittee co-chair.

With these projects, Hershey Medical Center was able to increase fuel efficiency from 51% to 75%, mitigate around 55,000 megawatt hours of electrical supply and distribution losses, and reduce carbon emissions related to electricity production by 10%.

Such improvements help to reduce the environmental impact of the facility, which in turn has a positive effect on the community’s health and well-being. With reduced carbon emissions, local health effects related to pollution and warming can be reduced, as well.

“We are committed to a holistic framework that addresses the efficiency and effectiveness of our electrical system,” said Marvin Smith, assistant vice president of facilities for Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine. “Through PEER certification, we demonstrate dedication to reliability, resiliency and the environment.”

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