Palomar Hospital’s Conservation Lessons for San Diego Plumbers
Smart plumbing choices have improved the water conservation at Palomar Hospital, an achievement facilities managers were not sure they could pull off. The Palomar Hospital success encourages those overseeing the building of the brand new Palomar Medical Center, a new state-of-the-art hospital in Poway scheduled to open November 2015. The new facility and the retrofit of Palomar Hospital are parts of a larger sustainability plan.
Because our commercial plumbing clients have many of Palomar’s opportunities and limitations, we have been watching how the medical organization approached balancing patient need with water conservation on a large scale. Where Palomar Hospital has 107 patient beds in a 149,000-square-foot facility, PMC West will have 288 private rooms spread over 739,000 square feet. Facilities managers and others used data from their 2010 retrofit of Palomar Hospital to design water conservation features for the new Palomar Medical Center. In other words, the hospital served as something of a trial run.
Director of Facilities Construction Wendy Cohen, explains,
“Water-conservation elements can be seen throughout the [Palomar Hospital] building, from the selection of the equipment in the central plant, the consideration of potable — or reclaimed — water at our cooling towers and irrigated spaces, to the selection of sustainable, drought-resistant plants throughout the campus, and attention to low-flow plumbing fixtures throughout the building.”
It is the success of the low-flow plumbing fixtures that is of interest to Perry Plumbing and its team. After all, the Palomar Medical Center aims to keep functionality high, while conserving water in a facility with 300 faucets and a similar number of toilets! Their success at PMC will ease our residential and commercial clients’ minds about incorporating conservation techniques.
Surmounting the Logistics Challenges
There is probably nowhere else than a hospital where disruptions must be kept at a minimum. And yet, construction crews had to install parts on every single sink and toilet in the building while patients occupied the rooms. For the most part, hospital mechanics and technicians could do their work when the rooms were empty. There were times, however, when scheduling made that impossible. They worked while a patient occupied the room.
Lead maintenance mechanic Rick Johnston explains,
“It was a little bit of a challenge, especially if it was an isolation room. We tried to do it when a patient wasn’t there. Sometimes, we’d have to gown up and get all the proper gear — all your PPE (personal protective equipment) — to go in that room and install those.”
Clearly, hospitals readied themselves for this outcome and could provide the technicians with the gear they needed to remain safe.
300 Sinks Benefit from Low Flow Valves
Large commercial facilities like hospitals, hotels and apartment complexes have thousands of gallons of water flushing through them daily. Water costs can be one of the highest of all operating expenses. At Palomar Hospital, mechanics replaced sink valves with a width of 3/8th inch to just a pinhole. The hospital ended up saving money without too many complaints from users.
Low Flush Toilets Did NOT Result in More Service Calls
Despite bringing the gpf or gallons per flush level down from 3.2 gpf to 1.8 gpf for each toilet at the hospital, calls for maintenance did not increase. The technology of the toilet gets the job done with almost half of the water necessary. They saved money by changing out only the flush kits rather than the entire toilets.
San Diego Plumbers Help Your Facility Save Water
After 35 years as residential and commercial plumbers in San Diego, Perry Plumbing has seen too many commercial water wasters. The biggest tragedy lies in the money these organizations lose yearly. Curious about how you can cut your water bill in half for your hospital, apartment, restaurant or other large business? Call us at 619-472-2112 or schedule an appointment here. We will share how we slashed the water bills of some of San Diego’s largest organizations.