High-Efficiency Cooling for Hospital

Design, construction and financing of chiller plant at Howard University Hospital

The Situation

Over the course of its 145-year history of providing the finest primary, secondary and tertiary health care services, Howard University Hospital (”Howard”), a Level 1 Trauma Center, has become one of the most comprehensive health care facilities in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. It is also the home of the Medical College of Howard University, a comprehensive, research-oriented, historically black private university providing an educational experience of exceptional quality to students of high academic potential with particular emphasis upon the provision of educational opportunities to promising black students.

The Problem

Howard’s facilities suffered from an inadequate chiller plant. The undersized air conditioning system did not provide adequate cooling during the hot Washington summer months to keep the hospital facilities at a comfortable ambient temperature or to maintain indoor humidity at manageable levels. In recent years, Howard resorted to augmenting its chiller plant with temporary measures that were costly and logistically difficult. Howard needed a new chiller plant. Since its facilities must provide health care to its patents 24/7, it could not shut down the chiller plant during the construction of a new chiller plant, which was expected to take almost a full year. Moreover, budget constraints greatly limited Howard’s options for buying the new equipment.

The Solution

In response to Howard’s needs, Honeywell Building Solutions (“Honeywell”) and Hannon Armstrong teamed with Howard to offer a comprehensive solution that covered the design, construction and financing of a new chiller plant. Under the resulting public-private partnership, Hannon Armstrong took title to the existing chiller plant, with Honeywell as operator. Howard entered a long term purchase contract with Hannon Armstrong for the purchase of chilled water. Honeywell has designed an expanded chiller plant, and begun construction on the new facility which will also be owned by Hannon Armstrong. Once the new chiller plant is completed, Honeywell will operate it on behalf of Hannon Armstrong. Substantial portions of the old chiller plant will then be refurbished and maintained as backup for Howard’s future cooling needs.

The Benefit

In the short term, Howard benefited financially from the sale of its existing chiller equipment to Hannon Armstrong, and shifted operating risk for the aging facility to Honeywell. In the long term, Howard will have the benefit of an affordable, new, properly-sized chiller plant for its first rate hospital facilities.