Although this year has been relatively mild, winter in Cache Valley often brings a temperature inversion, trapping cold, dense air near the valley floor and preventing pollutants from dissipating. The condition is exacerbated by carbon monoxide emissions, many of which come from the estimated 75,000-plus vehicles driven in the valley. Community residents have grown accustomed to the smoky haze and fog that can make breathing difficult for those with health concerns.
As one of the area’s largest employers and a community health partner, Logan Regional Hospital has taken innovative steps to reduce energy consumption and decrease carbon emissions into the air we all breathe. From 2008 to 2011, Logan Regional’s greenhouse emissions in tons of carbon dioxide have decreased by 52 percent — the equivalent of 215 cars being taken off the road in Cache Valley.
“About eighty percent of the world’s electric supply comes from natural gas and coal,” said Troy Jensen, control systems specialist. “So we are constantly thinking of ways to use renewable types of energy and reduce Logan Regional Hospital’s dependence on natural gas and coal.”
During 2011, the mechanical team at Logan Regional installed a summertime boiler that, with special software, can communicate with the other boilers in the hospital if it needs assistance. Over the summer, this boiler provided most of the energy to the hospital. The other boilers did not need to run in June and July and ran with little assistance into September.
Jensen is a member of the hospital’s mechanical team, which analyzes and understands the hospital’s control systems (i.e., water, heating, and air conditioning) to make sure they are running as efficiently as possible and fix them when necessary.
Since 2008, the Logan Regional mechanical team’s energy-savings initiatives have saved millions of gallons of water and almost 1,500 metric tons of CO2 gases.
More savings are planned for 2012. Logan Regional installed a new well last summer. Well water will be used this coming summer to reduce the building heat load. The idea will allow well water at 55 degrees to pass through heat exchangers and gain heat. The heat will raise the water temperature to 90 degrees and be used to water the grounds around the hospital, which will reduce energy consumption.
In another energy-saving initiative, Logan Regional Hospital electricians are looking into daylight harvesting technologies and changing all hospital parking lot lights to LED in 2012 in a joint venture with Logan City Power.