What is perceived by healthcare administrators to be innovative, provide lower energy costs, produce faster patient recovery, improve air quality, and lower operating costs? Green buildings are perceived to provide those benefits and more, according to the latest research from McGraw-Hill Construction. Their research, outlined in the 2007 Health Care Green Building SmartMarket Report, predicts the healthcare construction sector to be the fifth fastest growing market for green building. The number of hospitals very dedicated to green building – defined as greening more than 30% of their portfolio – has more than tripled in 2008 compared to previous years.
The most important obstacle to healthcare green building cited in the survey was lack of knowledge, about product information and product availability, among others. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes that lack of independent, credible performance data is a major impediment to the use of innovative environmental technology, not just in healthcare construction but in all commercial construction markets. To overcome this barrier, EPA established a program to accelerate the implementation of environmental technology through objective verification and reporting of technology performance. Established in 1995, the EPA Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Program develops testing protocols and verifies the performance of innovative technologies that have the potential to improve protection of human health and the environment.
The ETV Program operates as a public-private partnership mainly through cooperative agreements between EPA and private nonprofit testing and evaluation organizations. These ETV verification organizations work with EPA technology experts to create efficient and quality-assured testing procedures that verify the performance of innovative technologies. ETV now operates six centers which cover a broad range of environmental technology categories. Vendors and others in the private sector, as well as federal, state and local government agencies, cost-share with EPA to complete priority ETV protocols and verifications. In 2005, a new element of ETV was initiated, Environmental and Sustainable Technology Evaluations (ESTE), in which the most important technology categories for meeting EPA needs are verified through contracts with verification organizations.
Since its inception, ETV has verified almost 400 technologies and developed more than 85 protocols. In 2006, EPA published a two-volume set of 15 case studies which document actual and projected outcomes from verifications of technologies in 15 technology categories (EPA/600/R-06/001 and EPA/600/R-06/082). Seven types of outcomes are described; some examples include pollutant emission reductions, technology acceptance and use, scientific advancement, and human health impacts.
Like ENERGY STAR, ETV is a voluntary program that makes objective performance information available to help decision-making. However, ETV does not rank technologies, label or list technologies as acceptable or unacceptable, determine “best available technology,” or approve or disapprove technologies. Verification activities are announced in relevant publications, and on the ETV Web site (www.epa.gov/etv ) and ETV listserv. Appropriate quality assurance procedures are incorporated into all aspects of the process and all reports are subjected to peer review. Verification statements based on the performance data in the reports are signed by EPA and the verification organization, and are posted on the ETV Website.
For healthcare facilities considering energy-related green building technologies, the ETV Program has verified two fuel cells and six micro-turbine/combined heat and power (CHP) technologies that generate energy at the point of use, and one ground-source heat pump for onsite water heating (See Tables 1, 2, 3). Full reports on each of these technologies can be found at www.epa.gov/nrmrl/std/etv/vt-ggt.html . ETV has also signed contracts with three vendors to verify mold resistant wallboard and recently updated the protocol for biological and aerosol testing of ventilation air cleaners, in preparation for testing in this area.
Verification has led to improvements in sales. For example:
Applications are now being accepted for verification of technologies associated with distributed electrical generation and advanced energy technologies that produce or use renewable energy sources. To have your greenhouse gas technology considered, complete the application at http://www.sri-rtp.com/application_for_testing.pdf .
Clark Reed is the Director of the Healthcare Facilities Division for ENERGY STAR at the U.S. EPA. In 2006, ENERGY STAR helped Americans save enough energy to power 26 million homes, reducing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that of 25 million cars—all while saving consumers $14 billion. To join, visit ENERGY STAR’s website or contact the author at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—MC 6202J, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20460. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 202-343-9146.
|Microturbines and CHP Systems||Electricity Generating Capacity (kW)|
|Mariah Energy Corporation Heat PlusPowerTM SystemA||30|
|Ingersoll-Rand Energy Systems IR PowerWorksTM 70 kW Microturbine SystemA||70|
|Honeywell Power Systems, Inc. Parallon® 75 kW Turbogenerator||75|
|Honeywell Power Systems, Inc. Parallon® 75 kW Turbogenerator with CO Emissions Control||75|
|Capstone Turbine Corporation 30 kW Microturbine SystemA||30|
|Capstone Turbine Corporation 60 kW Microturbine CHP SystemA||60|
|Fuel Cells||Electricity Generating Capacity (kW)|
|Plug Power SU1 Fuel Cell System||6|
|UTC Fuel Cells, LLC PC25TM Fuel CellB||200|
|Ground-Source Heat Pump Water Heating System||Rated Performance & Heating Capacity|
|ECR Technologies, Inc. EarthLinked® Water Heating System||36,000 Btu and 60 gallons/hour A|
|A Includes heat recovery for CHP
B UTC Fuel Cells, LLC was known as International Fuel Cells Corporation when it was verified in 1998. The technology has since been renamed as the PureCellTM 200.
|Electrical efficiency||23.8% to 38.0%||20.4% to 26.2%|
|Potential thermal efficiency||56.9%B||7.2% to 47.2%C|
|Potential total system efficiency||93.8% B||33.4% to 71.8% C|
|CO2, lbs/kWhD||1.31 to 1.66||1.34 to 3.90|
|NOX, lbs/kWhD||NA||4.67 x 10-5 to 4.48 x 10-3|
|A At full load, under normal operation.
B The potential for heat recovery was verified in one of the three tests.
C For the four systems with heat recovery
D lbs/kWh = pounds per kilowatt-hour
|Water heating capacityA - Low temperature short-term test- Elevated temperature short-term test||35100 + 1300 Btu/h 32300 + 1100 Btu/h|
|Coefficient of Performance|
|Coefficient of performance- Low temperature short-term test- Elevated temperature short-term test- Long-term in-service testB||3.58 + 0.12 2.7 + 0.1 4.43 + 0.09|
|Change in average system efficiencyB,C||3.00 + 0.07%|
|Change in electrical power consumptionC||75 + 6%|
|CO2 emissions reductions, lbs/kWhC||1390|
|NOX emission reductions, lbs/kWhC||2.96|
|A Results are not adjusted to account for the average standby heat loss, 490 + 90 Btu/h.
B Coefficient of performance only looks at the performance of the device under testing, while average system efficiency characterizes the performance of the whole system.
C Long-term test result. Source: Southern Research Institute, 2006.