Hershey Medical Center wins 2018 Climate Champion award for combined heat and power project

U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Central Pennsylvania recognized Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center as the 2018 Climate Champion at the Forever Green awards on Nov. 1. The award was presented for the combined heat and power (CHP) project on the Hershey campus, which reduced campus carbon emissions by 46,000 tons, equivalent to taking 7,551 cars off the road.

“Once again, Penn State Health has shown itself to be a real champion of energy efficiency,” said Heidi Kunka, USGBC Central Pennsylvania community director. “Because of the scale and size of the CHP project, there has been a tremendous reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the midstate region.”

Located at the southwest corner of the Hershey campus, the natural gas-fired CHP plant generates 60 percent of the electricity and the majority of steam required for climate control, cooking, hot water generation and sterilization of medical equipment.

Earlier this month, the new cogeneration plant will begin generating electricity and producing the majority of the campus steam demand. The Hershey campus will move from the traditional system of providing heat and power at approximately 45 percent efficiency to a CHP system at approximately 80 percent efficiency.

Energy reduction measures like the CHP plant not only reduce the carbon footprint of the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, they save millions of dollars in utility costs each year, said Kevin Kanoff, campus energy engineer. He estimates CHP will lower annual utility costs by $2.5 million. “Sustainability makes good business sense, as well as sound environmental stewardship.”

Hershey Medical Center’s Facilities Department initiated a multiphase energy savings program in 2009 to address sustainability and energy conservation needs. Annual energy costs have decreased from $16 million in 2009 to less than $10 million in 2018. In 2017, a chilled water optimization project targeted the three water chiller plants that cool 2.6 million square feet in the two hospitals, five institutes and Penn State College of Medicine. The chiller project reduced energy output by 24 percent and saves more than $300,000 each year.

Marvin Smith, assistant vice president for facilities, noted that all campus building renovations and new construction must be compliant with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. This will include the future Innovation Pavilion, targeted to begin construction in 2019.

“The bottom line is if we can maintain and operate our campus in a sustainable, energy-efficient and fiscally sound manner, we will be able to provide better care for our patients,” concluded Smith.

USGBC is a nonprofit advocacy organization that promotes sustainability in building design, construction and operation through LEED industry standards. The Forever Green awards are an annual recognition of companies, individuals and institutions that demonstrate exemplary commitment and achievements in creating a more sustainable future.

If you're having trouble accessing this content, or would like it in another format, please email the Penn State College of Medicine web department.