According to the U.S. Department of Energy, installing “a 1″ thick blanket on an uninsulated 6″ gate valve in a 250-pound-per-square-inch-gauge (psig) saturated steam line yields a savings of $525 per year.”
When Black Hills Energy launched a project to repair components on Mountain Home, Arkansas-based Baxter Regional Medical Center’s steam system, the utility also partnered with Shannon Global Energy Solutions to provide hundreds of LT450SS thermal reusable insulation blankets for the hospital’s boilers, sterilizers, water heaters, condensate pumps, steam traps, valves, and more.
The Shannon Thermal Blanket Insulation (T450SS) is a CAD designed, CNC produced, pre-engineered insulation system designed to save energy, capture radiant heat, minimize insulation maintenance, and improve the surrounding work environment. Shannon It is capable of withstanding severe indoor and outdoor environments and is flexible, easy to install, remove, and reinstall. Suitable applications include Gate, Globe, Ball, Butterfly, Control and Wafer Valves, Flanges, Pumps, Instrumentation, Equipment Heads, any and all complex surfaces. This design is to act as a thermal barrier with a maximum service temperature of 450°F. The outer and inner jacket is a 17.0oz/yd² (577g/m²) Silicone Impregnated Fiberglass Cloth.
Shannon conducted an energy survey on the Baxter Regional steam system, which looked at energy consumption before and after installation of the reusable insulation. It measured a savings for Baxter Regional Medical Center of nearly $300,000 over the lifespan of the reusable insulation.
“Black Hills sets aside money for energy conservation projects, and its energy-saving repairs and improvements to our steam system helped us get a rebate for reusable insulation to cover bare components losing energy hospital-wide,” says Marshall Campbell, director of Engineering for Baxter Regional. “The difference with reusable insulation was immediate; a mechanical room with a steam header was a sweat box, but the temperature dropped to 72°F with blankets on our components.”
Part of the Black Hills Energy program includes accepting an assignment letter, so the utility can directly pay a contractor like Shannon. This takes the onus off the hospital to accomplish the project.
“Once we’re invited in, hospitals learn we can improve their system at no charge,” says Lisa Pfitzinger, manager of Energy Efficiency for Black Hills Corp. “Small hospitals are doing everything they can to survive, and an initiative like Baxter Regional’s helps small communities keep their hospitals open.”
The initial steam survey at Baxter Regional predicted reusable insulation covering 136 steam system components could save nearly $24,000 per year. Shannon installed its LT450SS thermal blanket (rated for up to 450°F and tested to ASTM E-84) in the Baxter Regional boiler room, laundry, and other steam components. After installation, independent calculations showed the actual cost savings mirrored Shannon’s initial survey.
Through a contract with Shannon Global Energy Solutions, Horizon Health Network (Horizon) has made a one-time investment in these reusable insulation blankets (model LT450SS) as well as in Shannon’s heat shields (model LT500HS-TC) for the boiler room at Horizon Health Network’s Miramichi Regional Hospital (MRH) in New Brunswick, Canada. Since installing the blankets in April 2015, MRH calculates it has saved 15 million pounds of steam.
“The reusable insulation should last at least another 10 years,” says Frank Kovacs, president and CEO of Shannon Global Energy Solutions. “Over the next decade, MRH can expect to save another 30 million pounds of steam.”
The Shannon Heat Shield (LT500HS-TC) is a thermal insulation solution used on equipment, machinery, and surfaces not exceeding 500°F. Thermal Heat Shield exposure can be indoors and outdoors. Shannon Heat Shield is weather/water resistant with many of the features typical of a self-contained Shannon Blanket Insulation design. The outer jacketing is composed of 16.5oz/yd² (611g/m²) PTFE Teflon® Impregnated Fiberglass Cloth. The insulation material is 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick non-woven glass fiber.
The hospital’s staff installed the reusable insulation for MRH’s boiler room, including its main header, instantaneous heater, and condensate pumps. Horizon measured and verified the savings using its facility and energy management software program with an audit of its steam system’s energy loss before blanketing the components in 2015. To determine the initial—and ongoing—savings from the reusable insulation, hospital staff analyzed total steam produced from April 2015 to June 2015 and compared that to April 2014 through June 2014 using a weather normalized data analysis for two, different baseline years (i.e., fiscal years 2011-2012 and 2014-2015). The staff then compared the weather-normalized data to the actual steam production after installation (i.e., April – June 2015).
Horizon learned about reusable insulation while researching energy-saving strategies that could deliver a quick payback at a low cost.
The audit for of MRH’s system predicted reusable insulation covering steam system components could save one million pounds of steam annually. For the audit, Shannon traced the steam system and calculated thermal energy loss from MRH’s boiler room, among other places. After installing the reusable insulation blankets, hospital staff measured the actual annual cost avoidance in MRH’s boiler room to be nearly three times greater than Shannon’s initial audit.
Alexis Tremblay of Preston Phipps Inc., a Canadian-owned provider of products and services for steam optimization and an exclusive distributor for Shannon, says, “We often hear employers say, ‘We’ve looked at our insulation and are in good shape,’ or ‘We don’t have the funds.’” But Tremblay suggests maintenance and energy managers ask a third party to perform an energy survey and explore the payback from reusable insulation.
“The surveys are often free,” adds Tremblay. “If done correctly, they can address energy costs.”