Elmhurst Hospital Energy System Upgrade

WSP USA provided design and construction support for upgrades to improve energy efficiency at this Level One trauma hospital serving a diverse community in New York City.



  • Queens, New York, US

Project Status

  • Completed in 2017

Analyzing Energy Improvements

After it was deemed eligible to receive funding through the New York Power Authority’s energy efficiency program, Elmhurst Hospital in New York City sought to improve the efficiency and reliability of energy systems that support operations across the facility. We were asked to apply our expertise in central utility plants to identify energy-saving opportunities at the hospital’s boiler plant and chiller plant.

The existing high-pressure steam boilers were aging and inefficient and no longer capable of operating at design capacities. The hospital was also considering a switch from #6 fuel oil to #2 fuel oil and natural gas to reduce emissions. In addition, there were opportunities for upgrades to the central chiller plant and building management systems.

Chiller Pumping
Fuel Source
Natural Gas; Fuel Oil
High-Pressure Steam Boilers

New boilers and control equipment at Elmhurst Hospital in New York City

Designing for Sustainability

We developed detailed design and construction documents when the project moved to the design phase. The work included replacement of existing boilers with four 30,000 lbs/hr industrial watertube high-pressure steam boilers, with low nitrogen oxide burners that use natural gas and #2 fuel oil to reduce overall emissions.

The project also included replacement of the existing boiler feedwater pumps, boiler blowdown systems, fuel oil pumps, and underground fuel oil tanks. The new boilers included economizers and flue gas recirculation. A modern burner management system and combustion controls system for the plant were included in the design.

For the chiller plant, we provided design for a free cooling heat exchanger and new sand filtration system. The chilled water distribution system was converted from a primary-secondary pumping configuration to an all-primary pumping system. The chiller plant also received a controls upgrade with a continuous commissioning service. The service alerts operators when outdoor air temperatures are suitable for free cooling, or if one of the chillers seems to be low on refrigerant. These strategies help to conserve energy and reduce operating costs.

We maintained close coordination with hospital staff throughout the project to minimize the impact on day-to-day operations. We took special measures to meet this goal, including use of a temporary boiler system and development of detailed phasing drawings to reduce steam shutdowns during construction.

Our experience in designing and implementing energy system upgrades in active facilities, including those providing critical services such as healthcare, was instrumental in delivering the project successfully.