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    Environmentally Cool at Naval Hospital Bremerton with new Chiller Plant

    Environmentally Cool at Naval Hospital Bremerton with new Chiller Plant

    Photo By Douglas Stutz | Just chilling... Capt. Jeffrey Bitterman, Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB) commanding...... read more read more

    How cool is that?

    Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB) has further enhanced the command environment stewardship by adding on-line a new chiller plant.

    According to Lt. Erwin Rodriguez, NHB engineering manager, the recently completed chiller plant project added a smaller chiller capable of providing cooling to the critical areas such as Information Management Department, Sterile Processing Department, and Main Operating Room spaces during the winter without the need of turning the bigger chillers on, which translates to a reduction of 40 percent of cooling demand. The new plant also reduces costs with the installation of a smart control system that can regulate cooling in a more efficient manner.

    “Without this system we couldn't have a functional Medical Facility. The chiller plant is the primary source of environmental control systems that keeps the operating rooms, sterile storage rooms, pharmacies, and procedures rooms operational. Humidity and temperature controls are vital to the compliance of medical facilities and Joint Commission standards. We work closely with other departments to ensure all environmental controls are maintained within range throughout the hospital ‘24/7/360,’” explained Rodriguez, noting that the project repaired an inadequate and poorly functioning chill water system by relocating existing chillers and installation of modern and code compliant chillers, cooling towers, and associated components.

    “It’s a more efficient system overall,” added Rodriguez.

    The additional advantage of having the new chiller plant on-line is that the plant’s new smart control system will integrated with Naval base Kitsap control center to share data and add cyber security intrusion notifications. This would have not been possible with the legacy system that the old chiller was built with in the early 1980s.

    “Another benefit is the ability to analyze data and be able to pinpoint problems throughout the system and chose the right time to conduct preventive maintenance,” Rodriguez said.

    The project was a team effort including efforts from the US Army Corps of Engineers was the acquisition agency, with Brian Roden was the primary Construction Manager; Ron Lyerla from NIKA solutions provided quality assurance and technical advice throughout the entire project.

    “Joey Decourval is NHB’s Utility Manager and an integral person on the coordination of outages and design solutions. Scott Hanneman was NHB's Project Manager for the entire duration, and was the main driver for the completion of the project,” said Rodriguez.

    What started approximately two years ago as a pile of dirt was ceremoniously transformed into an effective, efficient, economic and environmentally compliant and sustainable system.

    “This really is a big deal. This project makes our command a much more reliable facility for our staff and especially for our patients. It also enhances our efficiency in energy usage as we continue to be good stewards of the environment. Thank you and great job by all hands involved,” commented Capt. Jeffrey Bitterman, NHB commanding officer.

    The chiller plant is the latest example of environmental sustainability improvements at NHB. Other projects added over the past years include, a waste reduction program in partnership with Stryker Corporation, a medical materials and equipment manufacturing company, to collect and return FDA classified “single used devices” used in the operating room, instead of disposing of them as medical waste. After reprocessing, these devices are then available for purchase at up to a fifty percent reduction in cost as compared to new devices. Devices used in this program include arthroscopic wands and shavers, bits, blades and burs, laparoscopic instruments, suture passers, trocars, ultrasonic scalpels, and ligature sealer/dividers. In two previous fiscal years, almost two tons of single use devices were recycled through this process.

    The hospital also recycled approximately 250 pounds during those same fiscal years of various non-invasive medical devices, such as compression sleeves, pneumatic tourniquet cuffs, and stethoscopes. At one point in time, all of these items were disposed of as solid waste, with associated costs and environmental impact.

    The Laboratory’s Histology department supports the hospital’s sustainability program by recycling chemicals used in the laboratory processes. Alcohol stains and xylene are used in the preparation of patient specimen for analysis, and in many hospitals, the waste fluids generated are disposed of as hazardous waste. But at NHB, these solvents are recycled and reused many times over through use of a solvent still. Along with reducing waste volume, this process also significantly reduces the need and cost to purchase the large volumes of chemicals needed for these processes.

    NHB’s branch dental clinics located in Naval Station Everett, Naval Base Kitsap Bangor, and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard all have a toxic chemicals reduction program. Each has installed an amalgam collection filter to collect amalgam debris from the dental chairs. Amalgam fillings contain silver and mercury, heavy metals which can have major effects on the nervous system, and are designated toxic waste in Washington State. There are environmental compliance rules to keep the amalgam out of waste water systems. The amalgam separator systems utilized at NHB dental clinics met the necessary standards and are certified to remove greater than 99 percent of mercury and other heavy metals from the dental clinic wastewater, which exceeds federal requirements. Once collected, the amalgam separator is sent to an Environmental Protection Agency approved recycler, rather than the more common practice of disposal as hazardous waste. Along with costs savings, recycling of amalgam waste helps to ensure that the heavy metal contaminants do not have the opportunity to enter any water systems.

    NHB Pharmacy, in partnership with the Environmental Division, implemented an innovative program to safely handle discarded medications. A ‘MedSafe’ disposal container was placed in the outpatient pharmacy lobby, and also at Branch Health Clinic Everett that are available during normal hours of pharmacy operations for patients to discard used or outdated pharmaceuticals. This process ensures that pharmaceuticals are disposed of in a safe manner, and do not inadvertently enter the environment. This program also involves patient education and public relations efforts regarding the potential for abuse of medications and the importance of a safe collection and disposal. As a major patient portal, the deployment of a high-profile program such as this in the pharmacy sends a strong message to our patients and staff regarding our commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship.

    NHB added the Navy’s regional qualified recycling program (QRP), enabling efficient recycling of used cooking and motor oil, antifreeze, printer cartridges, plastics, office paper, cardboard, scrap metals and lightbulbs, ensuring that these materials are not sent to a landfill. Additionally, the QRP is able to sell many of these waste products, helping to sustain the program through internally generated revenue.

    Cost savings resulting from the hospital’s sustainability programs has helped to support the command mission by improving the efficiency and cost effectiveness of internal medical departments. NHB utilizes established medical principles of continuous process improvement to assess and evaluate programs for sustainability opportunities, as well as improvement opportunities created by the availability of new technologies and revisions to applicable regulations and policies.

    Even the public drinking fountains are environmentally friendly. There are bottle fillers in 14 drinking fountains that are reaping ecofriendly benefits. Just one has dispensed the equivalent of almost 200 bottles of water in one work week, thus theoretically keeping that many plastic containers out of recycle bins, trash cans and landfills.



    Date Taken: 06.18.2019
    Date Posted: 06.20.2019 17:53
    Story ID: 328561
    Location: BREMERTON , WA, US 

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