The New York Hospital Queens (NYHQ), located in Flushing and serving a community of about 115,000 people each year, is upgrading its 55-year-old infrastructure as part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s PlaNYC ‘s green energy initiative. The hospital aims to find new ways to conserve its resources, preserve the environment, and cut costs through innovative retrofitting, while taking part in a citywide initiative to reduce hospital carbon emissions. As of September 2011, the NYHQ reported a 28% reduction in carbon emissions.
The hospital aims to use environmental sustainability resources as a means to promote public health for both its patients, and for local communities throughout Queens. The NYHQ’s sustainability program will implement green technologies to save energy and water through internal projects and partnerships with green organizations like NYSERDA and the EPA. The decision to overhaul the hospital’s energy infrastructure also comes as a result of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s PlaNYC challenge to hospitals and universities to reduce carbon emissions citywide to 30% by 2030.
NYHQ’s green projects include replacing three 1,100-ton gas fired absorption chiller plants. One of the existing chiller units was replaced with a 1,200-ton electric centrifugal chiller last spring, which was partially funded through NYSERDA and provided the hospital with a $87,000 rebate. The switch from a natural gas to an electric driven chiller contributed to a 7 percent reduction in overall energy consumption and emissions; the chiller reduced annual carbon emissions by 1,655 metric tons, the equivalent of 325 passenger vehicles.
With 1/3 of electricity consumption coming from lighting, the hospital also developed a daylight optimization & lighting control program, installing occupancy sensor controls and photocells to reduce energy use. Photocells use light sensative cells similar to solar panels. They turn off electric lighting in areas where large amounts of natural daylight are available, allowing the hospital to offset interior lighting costs and providing more exposure to sunlight.