Renewable Energy

Combined Heat and Power

Tracey Krueger in FSPA boiler plantSince 1905, FSPA has utilized district heating. The community’s district heating plant generates steam to heat over one million square feet in St. Rose Convent, Franciscan Skemp Healthcare and Viterbo University. Through district heating, FSPA is realizing its goals—reducing operation and maintenance costs as well as emissions.

Generally, as high pressure steam is distributed to each facility, the steam pressure is decreased with a mechanical pressure reducing valve. By reducing the high pressure steam at the district heating plant through the steam-driven turbine generators, electricity is produced and low pressure steam is generated to heat the buildings. This process is called Combined Heat and Power (CHP).

The two small steam-driven turbine generators can run 24 hours a day and produce about 40 percent of the average annual electricity used by FSPA. The goals for installing this technology go beyond actual cost savings and emission reduction. Steam plant tours demonstrate district heat and CHP to groups of professionals, building operators and the general public, encouraging others to utilize combined heat and power in their facilities.

Energy Management System

FSPA also uses a computerized energy management system that operates air handlers and chillers for cooling St. Rose. Peak electrical demand is monitored and the steam plant operator has the ability to change various equipment schedules while maintaining a reasonable building comfort level. Lower building temperatures during the heating season, humidity control during the cooling season and the ability to remotely regulate unoccupied lighting and ventilation levels on a day to day basis all contribute to energy use reduction.

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