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Putting WaterSense® to Work
Hospital Installs Water-Efficient
Laboratory and Medical Equipment
Sector: Hospitals; Focus: Laboratory and Medical Equipment
Project Summary
Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, Washington, is a 340-bed,
750,000-square-foot patient care facility. The hospital logs
approximately 95,000 patient days per year and employs 2,300 staff.
In Olympia, water rates increased 40 percent between 2000 and 2011.
Realizing the potential for saving both water and operating costs,
Providence St. Peter Hospital began identifying water efficiency
improvement projects as early as 1999. in 2001, the hospital partnered
with its mechanical contractor to perform a facility water assessment
and identify sources of water waste, focusing its initial efforts on
improving operations and maintenance. Providence St. Peter
maintenance staff analyzed irrigation systems, heating and cooling
systems, faucets, kitchen equipment, hydrotherapy pool operations,
and other potential sources of leaks and made repairs where
Following the initial water assessment and leak detection and repair
phase, Providence St. Peter began the major work of improving the
efficiency of some of its medical equipment, as well as equipment in
restrooms, kitchens, and mechanical spaces.
Like most hospitals, Providence St. Peter uses sterilizer equipment to
disinfect and sterilize surgical instruments, medical waste, and other
materials. The hospital's four existing instrument steam sterilizers ali
are outfitted with orifice venturi equipment, which uses water to
produce a vacuum. By replacing the venturi equipment with electric
vacuum pumps, Providence St. Peter was able to eliminate the water
use associated with the vacuum operation in its sterilizer units.
Additionally, piping was
modified so that steam
condensate was recovered
from the sterilizer jacket,
which is now redirected to
the boiler plant for reuse
instead of discharged to the
Case Study
Facility name: Providence St.
Peter Hospital
Location: Olympia, Washington
Potential occupancy: 340 beds
Building size: 750,000 gross
square feet
Water savings: 31 million
gallons of water in total over 10
years, or approximately 5.9
million gallons per year once
retrofits were completed
Cost savings: $1.5 million over
10 years, or approximately
$140,000 per year
Simple payback: Accounting for
rebates and incentives, all of the
implemented projects paid for
themselves in less than 2 years
Medical air compressors
Instead of using potable water for single-pass cooling of its liquid-ring
central vacuum pumps, Providence St. Peter uses recirculating chilled
water from the central chilled water system, although some fresh water
is required to flush the system clean of any medical fluids. Providence
PHONE (866) WTR-SENS (987-7367) WEBSITE www.epa.gov/watersense EMAlLwatersense@epa.gov
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St. Peter has also replaced its liquid-ring, non-medical (control) air compressors and waste anesthesia gas pumps
with non-water-using equipment.
In addition to addressing the water efficiency of some of its medical equipment, Providence St. Peter has also
improved the efficiency of its sanitary fixtures, mechanical equipment, and outdoor water including:
•	Installed dual-flush valves on existing flushometer-vaive toilets and installed several new high-efficiency
toilets, making use of available utility rebates.
•	Installed 1-pint urinals.
•	Installed water-saving showerheads that meet patient expectations of performance.
•	Worked with a manufacturer to design dual-flush bed pan washers.
•	Eliminated single-pass cooling in air conditioning units and ice machines,
•	Maximized the cooling tower's water efficiency; the cooling tower is the largest user of water at the facility,
consuming approximately 3.2 million gallons of make-up water even under an efficient control scheme.
•	Installed a weather-based irrigation controller on its irrigation system,
•	Replaced the garbage disposal with a food separator and compost system.
Providence St. Peter has additional water efficiency projects that it is considering, including: collecting and
reusing rainwater; installing submeters to better monitor water use; reducing and/or reusing clean dialysis reject
water; and collecting and using air handler condensate as cooling tower make-up water.
Savings Summary
The upgrade of the existing steam sterilizers was by far the most
significant of the water efficiency improvement projects completed at
Providence St. Peter Hospital, As a result of these improvements alone,
the hospital was able to reduce its water use by 4,300 gallons per day or
approximately 1,600,000 gallons per year. To finance the $30,200 retrofit
project, the hospital received a 50 percent grant from its wastewater
utility. With this grant, the payback period for the project was less than
two years.
Table 1 provides a summary of the water savings from all of the projects
implemented at Providence St. Peter through 2012.
All of the projects completed at Providence St. Peter combined have lowered operating costs and reduced the
burden on the hospital's budget. Providence St. Peter Hospital estimates that it saves approximately $140,000
each year in water and sewer bills, and at least 3.4 million gallons of water.
Ten years after the hospital began its water efficiency efforts, staff estimated that it had reduced water use 59
percent compared to its 1998 use. In fact, the hospital realized cumulative savings of $1.5 million and 31 million
gallons of water between 1999 and 2011. This savings was achieved despite an expansion of the campus by 17
percent and an increase of 22 percent in patient days between 2004 and 2009.
The U.S Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) WaterSense program acknowledges Providence St. Peter
Hospital Facility Director Geoff Glass, Stirrett Johnsen Mechanical Contractors employee Troy Aichele, and
Mazzetti Nash Lipsey Burch Senior Environmental Performance Consultant Laura Brannen for providing
information for this case study.
Anesthesia evacuation pumps

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Table 1. Retrofit and Replacement Project Water Savings
Water Savings
(gallons per year)
Medical Equipment Retrofits and Replacements
Steam Sterilizer Pump Replacement and Condensate Collection
Replacement of Non-Water-Using Medical Air Compressors
(reciprocating system)
Waste Anesthesia Gas Pump Replacement
Mechanical System Replacements
Replacement of Single-Pass Cooling Ice Machines, Air Conditioning,
and Refrigeration Equipment
more than 330,000
Sanitary Retrofits and Replacements
Retrofit of Flushometer-Valve Toilets With Dual-Flush Valves and
Installation of 1-Pint Urinals
Installation of Some Dual-Flush Flushometer-Valve Toilets
Installation of 1.5 GPM (gallons per minute) Showerheads
Installation of Reduced Flow Rate Faucets
Commercial Kitchen Replacements
Installation of a More Efficient Tunnel Dishwasher
Installation of a Food Separator and Garbage Composting System
Not available
Outdoor Replacements
Installation of a Weather-Based Irrigation Controller
Not available