This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

May 25, 2011

World's Largest Medical Center now among the Most Energy Efficient

Houston-based Texas Medical Center recently celebrated the completion of an energy efficient, 48-megawatt combined heat and power system. The Medical Center projects that the new system, funded in part by a $10 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant, will help save about $200 million in energy costs over the next 15 years—a big number, even by Texas standards.

As a measure of how much energy the facility needs, the sprawling complex even has its own electrical company, called the Thermal Energy Corporation (TECO). While the Medical Center charted its continuing expansion, TECO launched a strategy to keep pace with the center's growing energy needs. Having completed an ambitious $377 million plant project, dedicated on May 17, the Texas Medical Center is now a model for energy efficiency, operating flexibility, and environmental sustainability.

Key to the project is the plant's new combined heat and power system. Combined heat and power plants are ideal for large facilities that demand a great deal of heat and electricity to operate efficiently. Systems, like those at work at the new TECO plant, channel energy that would be wasted as heat by a conventional generation process back into productive uses such as air conditioning, space heating, and sterilization in the form of steam, chilled water or even additional electricity. See the Energy Blog post.