Thinking Outside the Box: A University Hospital Case Study

In the design for steam systems many different materials can be found on the specification for insulation. Steam pipes for high pressure and low pressure steam have variables to consider to protect the steam pipe, deliver the steam at process temperature to its destination and to protect the systems overall health as well as safety for individuals working close at hand. Considerations are made for dry and wet locations; touch temperature of the outside areas as well as adjacent spaces that can be affected, which also would include the demand on HVAC Chiller operations. Rigid stay in place insulation is used on most all steam pipes with the addition of removable reusable insulated jackets on all serviceable components. Uninsulated steam pipes or components are subject to heat loss and can costs the end user thousands of dollars yearly to operate the Boilers at process temperature or pressure to maintain the steam distribution demands.

In a recent Case Study, Thermaxx proposed a Heat Loss Survey to a client in Cleveland Ohio. A presentation was given to Facility and Maintenance Directors, Energy Directors and Engineers, and Directors of Finance prior to the heat loss survey.  The purpose of this presentation was to better understand the clients current energy usage and their needs in order to maintain a healthy and cost effective steam system as well as introduce possible Thermaxx solutions. Following the presentation, a walkthrough was performed inside several mechanical rooms disclosing many areas of uninsulated steam pipe and components.

Information is gathered to obtain the heat loss:

Touch and Ambient temperature as well as MMBTU (utility cost for Gas, Oil, Coal in BTU Therms) dollars to make steam at the boiler is gathered and calculated heat loss, using 3E plus, an energy program designed for this purpose. The heat loss finds for the client a true understanding of how well his spent energy dollars are working for them. Concerns are quickly identified:

  • The client has no idea so much of his system is found to be uninsulated
  • A clear picture is shown where savings can be made and how this can be achieved.
  • Insulation cost and ROI is clearly shown so the client can make budgetary planning to proceed with the project.
  • An outline showing wasted cost if the system is left uninsulated.

This discovery had this client exclaiming, “Thermaxx has shown us ways to save money…this is a project we need and we need to move forward on it now…when you save us money we listen and are very interested.”

These findings are acknowledged throughout the steam networks. Inside universities, hospitals, Federal and State Buildings, as well as local Government and Industry Corporations…saving money is a primary goal for all.

So how do we think outside the box, especially with something like steam insulation? So far we have:

  • Proof to the client that energy dollars are being wasted and savings have been discovered that will, in time, recover that loss and allow the client to better budget his energy spending.
  • Saved energy dollars may be budgeted towards other needs at the facility.
  • Improved work environment.

A Healthy Steam System is a Happy Steam System

Thermaxx revolutionized heat loss monitoring with the introduction of Smart Sensor/Smart Jacket technology. By thinking outside the box, Smart Sensors allows steam traps and other components to be closely and accurately monitored, informing the client of anomalies within that component that will greatly affect the health of that system to which it is tied.

It’s a truly smart system using wireless technology that is constantly reading temperature variables from set parameters and sending these readings through a gateway and onto an Internet Portal for an operator to view and see real time data of each Smart Sensor installed. History is gathered and shared and monthly reports are maintained. Emails or text messages can be received by the operator to inform if something isn’t performing as expected from any component monitored.

When our clients inform us that we have proven to them we can SAVE THEM MONEY…and protect their investment..we listen.

Yes…Projects generally do get off on the same steps whenever they are being researched and developed.

Thinking outside the box is something we do at Thermaxx. By working closely with our clients and engineers our goal is to take you with us to the next level: saving you money, providing efficiency and safety with Smart Sensor technology, and maintaining and protecting your steam investment.

Are you ready to think outside the box?