Applying Insulation to HVAC Equipment

By District Energy posted 10-15-2018 00:00


Richie Stever, Facility Executive


The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) is a sprawling healthcare campus in Baltimore, and it operates four central plants delivering steam to a 2.1 million square foot teaching hospital, which includes the 294,000 square foot. Homer Gudelsky Building erected in 1994 and the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, opened in 1989. Within these facilities that my department operates and maintains, the HVAC system consists of 56 air handling units, 14 chillers, 13 cooling towers, three ice storage tanks, and district steam (provided by Veolia North America) for heating. UMMC also uses district steam for hot water and sterilization.

In the summer of 2017 at the U.S. Department of Energy Better Buildings Summit, we met Shannon Enterprises, a company that designs and makes reusable thermal and acoustic insulation blankets.

We never gave insulation much thought, and when we did, our view was “set it and forget it.” However, we learned that maintenance workers can remove reusable insulation in a few minutes, inspect or repair a valve or steam trap, and replace the insulation with ease. Many assume insulation is fiberglass with a cover; they don’t think of it as an item that can be removed and replaced to make equipment accessible.

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