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assembled. And because the turbine was being installed
on the third floor, with a roof above, it required clever
engineering to secure it in place.
"While this project has incredibly experienced people
working on it, the third-floor installation of the turbine was
something new for many of us," said Hafer.
To position the turbine, engineers worked hand-in-hand
with the crane operator. The front edge of the turbine was
placed on the edge of the floor and the crane tilted the rear
end higher. This allowed gravity to take hold of the massive
equipment, which literally slid itself into position.
Installing the back-up generators above grade added an
additional level of reliability to the system as well. While not
located in a flood plain, best practices call for backup power
to be placed well above grade in the event of excessive
flooding. The Energy Center of the Future accomplished
that and more, by having all critical components elevated to
a height of 30 feet above street level.
Having all this equipment required numerous structural,
seismic and acoustical tests as well. The structural plans
were reviewed for four months to ensure the integrity of the
building. Meanwhile, major sound attenuation was deployed
to ensure noise pollution did not affect neighbors. While
visitors inside will be required to use hearing protection, the
noise immediately outside will only reach the same decibel
level as a kitchen blender.
A MEASURED ROLL-OUT
Even when all the equipment was in place, far too much was
at stake to simply flip a switch. Over a 90-day period, the
Energy Center of the Future has gone through a variety of
tests and procedures to ensure everything was working
The first step in the roll-out was to bring each piece
of equipment online independently, determining its
performance outside of the system. Prior to Christmas, the
back-up generators were the first to be tested under load,
and they performed perfectly.
Following a short test run of the gas turbine in mid-January,
the Energy Center of the Future will go through multiple
weeks of testing the relays and electrical switch gear before
the final transition happens around March.
COST SAVINGS, AND MORE
Equally as impressive as the added reliability of the Energy
Center of the Future are the cost savings realized on the
project. Bolstered by a $1.3 million grant from the PA
Department of Community and Economic Development to
partially offset the nearly eight million for the CHP portion
of the twenty-eight million-dollar total project cost, LGH
anticipates a full pay-back in less than eight years for a
system that will also lower emissions by 52 percent.
In their successful grant application, LGH noted that the
Energy Center of the Future hopes to serve as "a 'light on
the hill' - literally in the event of a power grid failure and
figuratively as a model for other hospitals." LT
This article highlights and supports the
work that's being done in the community to
satisfy the Physical Environment dimension
of our Prosperity Indicators.