Bryce State Hospital Nearly Halves Gas Use With Miura Boilers
Responding in part to a statewide mandate to improve energy efficiency in public buildings, Bryce State Hospital in Tuscaloosa, AL recently decommissioned its central steam plant, opting instead to install Miura steam boilers in each of its three buildings. As a result, not only has the facility greatly reduced its energy output, but the hospital reports cutting its natural gas costs by nearly half in the process.
Challenges and Objectives
Originally built in 1861, Bryce State Hospital is the oldest and largest psychiatric health institution, occupying three large buildings set on 200 acres in Tuscaloosa. For many years, a central steam plant containing a large fire-tube boiler provided steam to all three of the hospital’s multi-winged buildings, but the boiler was old and expensive to run. As energy costs continued to climb and as the state passed new energy-efficiency regulations, it became apparent that the steam plant model was no longer viable for this facility, and the hospital sought to replace it with individual steam units in each of the buildings. However, this option presented its own set of challenges for these historic buildings, as Bob White, Bryce’s Director of Engineering, explains: “The pre-existing patient-care buildings did not have boiler rooms,” he says, “since they originally operated from the central fire tube boiler.”
After turning to Miura for help, the hospital decided to install three sets of two energy-efficient boilers in each of the three buildings. “We paired a Miura LX 100 boiler with a Miura LX 50 boiler,” says White, “and installed them as a set into each building.” Installing the boilers in series — a main unit (the LX 50) and a backup unit (the LX 100) — meant the steamers could operate as needed, with the backup unit kicking in only in times of high demand for steam. Ultimately, Bryce Hospital chose these units for several reasons:
- Their modular water tube design enables these boilers to go from a cold start to producing steam in 5 minutes, compared to several hours for conventional boilers.
- The compact design of the boiler units made it simple to install them in buildings that were not built with a designated boiler room — all without the added expense of a major reconstruction project.
- The installation design allows for on-demand energy and steam consumption, saving ample quantities of water and natural gas in the process.
- The BL Micro Controller Boiler Control System on these units include readouts that make it simple for maintenance to manage the use of the boilers, plus the self-diagnostic feature quickly identifies any issues that might arise.
Since retiring their central steam plant and commissioning their Miura boilers, Bryce has seen almost instant positive results. From the very first day of startup, White says, they noticed nearly a 50 percent drop in their natural gas consumption, as well as a drop in their water consumption, thanks to the boilers’ energy efficient design that provides a BHP output comparable to much larger units, but with a much smaller footprint. Always recognized as a leader in mental health care, Bryce State Hospital now sets a standard in energy efficiency, as well.