Allegheny Health Network Wexford Hospital to feature unique, energy-saving power plant - PineCreek Journal

Allegheny Health Network Wexford Hospital to feature unique, energy-saving power plant

Tuesday, March 3, 2020 | 11:00 PM

As construction on the Allegheny Health Network Wexford Hospital progresses, one of the newest projects includes construction of a natural gas-fired, two-story power plant.

A collaboration between AHN and Peoples Gas, the on-site plant will provide all of the hospital’s electricity, heating and cooling, officials said, by simultaneously producing up to two megawatts of electricity and thermal energy on site.

“I think it’s part of the overall philosophy with Wexford Hospital,” said Dr. Allan Klapper, hospital president. “We started looking for technologies and innovative ways to build the hospital and to provide care within the hospital. As part of that process of how do we do things more efficiently, how do we improve the experience, quality and safety, it was natural to look at the power plant and say OK, how do we centralize this building in such a way that sort of reduces risk and improves the overall delivery of energy and does so in a more cost-effective way. That’s when we reached out to Peoples to see if they were interested in building this kind of plant with us.”

It’s a project unique not only to AHN but also to hospitals in the area in general, Klapper said. The overall cost to build the plant is north of $10 million, he said, but $1.8 million of that is coming from a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and the Department of Environmental Protection as part of the Alternative and Clean Energy (ACE) program.

Hospital officials also expect to see a significant cost savings in terms of energy and maintenance, particularly with Peoples employees managing and maintaining the plant as part of their agreement.

They expect construction on the plant to be completed by the end of the year. Construction of the hospital itself is on time and on budget, Klapper said, with an expected completion date of June 2021 and an opening in September 2021. Services at the hospital will include women and infant care, cardiac, neurosurgical, orthopedic and cancer care, a 24-hour emergency department, an intensive care unit and 160 private inpatient rooms.

“We can’t wait to get it launched,” he said. “We think it’s going to be a great addition to the community and health care in the North Hills, and businesses and residents in the North Hills. We’re excited.”