UnityPoint Health – Methodist Medical Center of Peoria

UnityPoint Health – Methodist Medical Center of Peoria needed to address its aging cooling plant. The hospital faced high maintenance and energy costs, as well as growing concern over the availability of replacement parts. The existing system struggled to provide enough chilled water to meet the needs of the hospital. If major repairs were needed, UnityPoint had no backup solution to carry the task of cooling the entire Medical Center.

UnityPoint engaged ENTEC Services to complete a RetroCommissioning (RCx) study designed to address the Center’s cooling performance problems. The RCx process involved intensive on-site functional performance tests on every piece of equipment that consumes chilled water.

The study uncovered major inefficiencies in the Center’s consumption of chilled water. The chillers were old and in need of replacement. The antiquated cooling tower system was leaking. And the pumping system was unable to deliver chilled water when and where it was needed.

Many years of expansion projects and alterations to the facility led to booster pumps being added without a full understanding of the chilled water system. These booster pumps created significant over-pressurization in the chilled water loop, hampering cooling plant performance.

With the data collected and analyzed, ENTEC performed a 30-year life-cycle cost analysis on four options for the Medical Center. The options include upgrading the existing cooling plant or constructing a new one. After careful consideration of the total cost of ownership, ENTEC and the facility services team concluded that the best option was to construct a new cooling plant.

Now that the problems and solutions were known, the UnityPoint Health – Methodist staff felt a strong sense of urgency to complete the new cooling plant. ENTEC worked quickly, engaging a team of consultants, technicians and contractors already serving the Medical Center to ensure the new plant was operational for the upcoming cooling season.

ENTEC outlined a complete scope of work and addressed the questions of the design and implementation teams, saving time in the construction process while maintaining the staff’s confidence in the solution. New primary pumps were added as part of the new cooling plant while the secondary and booster pumps were modified to correct the chilled water flow issues.

UnityPoint now enjoys a reliable, fully automated, energy efficient cooling plant with redundancy to ensure 100% uptime. The new plant incorporates a free cooling system controlled automatically by the building automation system. In addition to the $240,000 in expected annual energy savings and 49% cut in kWh, the Medical Center received around $380,000 in energy incentive dollars from the AMEREN ActOnEnergy Program. This resulted in a payback of 5 years on the chiller replacement. More importantly, now the staff and patients of UnityPoint Health – Methodist enjoy improved comfort throughout the building.

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