HERSHEY, Pa. — Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) has awarded platinum-level Performance Excellence in Electricity Renewal (PEER) certification to Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
PEER is the world’s first certification program that evaluates the resiliency, reliability and sustainability of power systems using six overarching criteria. They are reliability and resiliency of power systems; energy efficiency and environmental impact; the operation, management and safety of these systems; grid services; innovation and exemplary service; and regional priority of the energy systems.
Since 2010, the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center has been working toward creating a more sustainable power system by implementing an Energy Conservation Program. Through this, Hershey Medical Center — whose campus also includes Penn State College of Medicine — has been able to reduce its energy consumption by 20%. This led to monetary savings and reduced carbon output. The increased reliability and sustainability helps the environment while also enhancing the Medical Center's ability to provide high-quality health care to patients.
As a health care provider, Hershey Medical Center is unable to stop operations in the event of a power outage. In order to continue providing lifesaving medical care, it is critical that the hospital has uninterrupted access to a fully functional power grid, equipped with backup systems in the event of power failures. To evaluate its energy infrastructure and performance, the Medical Center pursued PEER certification.
“The PEER certification process forced us to step back from the day-to-day tasks of operating and maintaining the campus infrastructure to support the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center mission, and holistically consider the campus as a microgrid and the future of renewable energy and sustainability possibilities,” said Kevin Kanoff, campus energy engineer.
Platinum PEER certification from GBCI is the highest possible award, signifying a commitment to energy efficiency and reliability. Out of 110 available points, Hershey Medical Center earned 85. One infrastructure project that helped to achieve these ratings is the combined heat and power unit, which supplies 75% of the Medical Center’s energy. The Medical Center also met the goals of supplying an alternative power supply for 100% of all project loads and updating and optimizing HVAC and lighting systems to be more efficient.
“The PEER certification process provided us with the means to further evaluate our environmental performance through established metrics, identify areas where we have excelled, and also opportunities for improvement as we strive to be a leader in environmental practices within the health care industry,” said Mark Heisey, facilities compliance program manager and Campus Sustainability Council Environmental Subcommittee co-chair.
With these projects, Hershey Medical Center was able to increase fuel efficiency use from 51% to 75%, mitigate around 55,000 MWh of electrical supply and distribution losses, and reduce the Medical Center’s electricity production-related carbon emissions by 10%.
Improvements such as these provide greater potential to reduce the impact the facility has on the environment, ultimately having a positive impact on the community’s health and well-being. With reduced carbon emissions, local health effects related to pollution and warming can be reduced, as well.
“We are committed to a holistic framework that addresses the efficiency and effectiveness of our electrical system,” said Marvin W. Smith, assistant vice president of facilities for Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine. “Through PEER certification, we demonstrate dedication to reliability, resiliency and the environment.”