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VA Improves Medical Center Efficiency and Sustainability

$1 million in annual utility savings will be used to improve the care environment and meet sustainability goals

The project will also address water consumption at the Puerto Rico facility where drought conditions are impacting costs

Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management and automation, today announced it will implement more than $7 million in infrastructure upgrades at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico, part of the Sunshine Healthcare Network (VISN 8). The project will include comprehensive facility improvements and upgrades that will enhance patient care, all delivered with no up-front capital investment through a guaranteed energy savings performance contract (ESPC).

According to a recent VA Scorecard on Sustainability/Efficiency, only 15 percent of VA facilities are considered sustainable, and 23 percent of facilities are not on track to meet their energy intensity reduction goals. The partnership with Schneider Electric will provide new resources to help the VA close these sustainability and efficiency gaps while also addressing the tight budget constraints that many VA facilities face.

“Schneider Electric is dedicated to providing innovative ways to improve operations through energy and infrastructure upgrades that support the VA’s mission of advancing care for veterans and their families,” said Jeff Sherman, Director of Federal Energy & Sustainability Services, Schneider Electric.

“We are proud to deliver critical upgrades that will dramatically improve the living and operating conditions in the hospital, and also help the VA achieve its energy conservation and sustainability goals with no impact on its operating budget.”

Schneider Electric will guarantee more than $1 million in annual energy savings to the VA to fund the improvements over the life of the project. A significant portion of the work focuses on water conservation efforts to alleviate high water bills brought on by recent drought conditions and a remote water island environment, which drive up the price of fresh water. By installing low-flow plumbing fixtures, the VA will be able to significantly reduce water consumption which translates to tangible utility savings. Additional energy conservation measures include lighting, HVAC, and advanced metering system upgrades.

Facility upgrades will not only reduce energy consumption but will directly impact patient comfort by way of improved lighting in patient areas and better efficiency and control of heating and air conditioning equipment. Savings will come from a variety of strategies, including:

  • Installing energy-efficient LED lighting and occupancy sensors to turn off lights during unoccupied times
  • Replacing existing aged pump and fan motors with premium efficiency motors
  • Installing power-returned fan equipment with variable frequency drives
  • Upgrading high-flow plumbing fixtures with lower-flow fixtures

“Through our partnership with Schneider Electric, we’re able to achieve energy efficiency we never imagined was possible and deliver new levels of comfort and care to our patients,” said Sixto Ortiz-Diaz, Energy Manager, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “We are thrilled to be able to implement $7 million in needed capital improvements at no cost to our community through guaranteed revenues and savings which will play a key role in ensuring the delivery of the highest quality patient care for years to come.”

Schneider Electric will work with local subcontractors for the installation phase of the project, bringing local jobs to the San Juan community. Construction is underway and is scheduled to be completed in early 2018.

The project marks an expansion of a long-term collaboration between Schneider Electric and the VA. In addition to the work being done at the VA Medical Center in San Juan, Schneider Electric has completed similar projects at three VA New England Healthcare System (VISN 1) facilities, which will save $10 million in energy costs over the life of the projects. Schneider Electric has deep experience in serving Caribbean-based facilities, including the U.S. Coast Guard in San Juan, as well as General Services Administration facilities in St. Croix and St. Thomas.

The VISN 8 is the nation’s largest system of hospitals and clinics serving more than 1.6 million veterans across Florida, South Georgia, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean. Services are provided through primary care supported by eight Joint Commission-accredited medical centers and more than 55 outpatient clinics. VISN 8 facilities provide a full range of high-quality, cost-effective medical, psychiatric and extended care services in inpatient, outpatient, nursing home, and home care settings.

Over the past 23 years, Schneider Electric has successfully implemented more than 625 ESPC projects across the nation, saving its clients nearly $1.6 billion. This project delivery method helps publicly funded entities make capital improvements over longer payback periods and offers many long-term benefits such as improved facility efficiency, occupant comfort, financial management, and environmental protection.