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Conserving energy - LICH earns award for doing its part

Long Island College Hospital (LICH) of Brooklyn received an award from Energy Curtailment Specialists (ECS) for its role in energy management during crisis conditions. ECS is a prestigious energy-management organization working with New York State to control its electricity supply and demand.

During electrical blackouts and brownouts, also called periods of “tension on the grid,” hospitals revert to emergency generators. However, the effect of the changeover on the sophisticated and highly sensitive systems used in hospital patient care had not previously been studied.

“We’re conducting drills using the ECS program of emergency electricity management in much the same way as we train in emergency disaster management,” says Ralph Gambardella, LICH chief engineer. “We have installed systems that will protect the patients with no interruption when there’s a sudden energy crisis situation.”

During a recent drill, LICH – 339 Hicks Street – was called upon by ECS to shed 1,200 kilowatts for a period of several hours, a likely scenario if the Con Edison grid was approaching capacity. The hospital went above and beyond by curtailing 2,120 kilowatts; 920 kilowatts more than expected. “Our success was due to the ongoing maintenance we perform on our emergency generators so they are at their peak performance during the event, as well as an extremely effective hospital-wide notification system,” adds Gambardella.

ECS concurs. “Long Island College Hospital is an ideal participant in the program, as they are highly motivated to help the community all while taking the necessary precautions to assure patient safety,” said Glen Smith, president and CEO of ECS. “They truly deserve the Blackout Buster award.”

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