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OSF St. Francis Heating Plant


Peoria, Illinois’ OSF St. Francis Medical Center, part of the OSF Healthcare System, is one of the largest Catholic hospitals in the United States. With 5,000 employees and 730 patient beds, the hospital could not afford any downtime during a heating plant upgrade. ENTEC’s attention to detail and careful scheduling ensured heating plant integrity throughout a project that yielded a return on investment in excess of 90%.

“ENTEC’s solution for our heating plant saves over 33 million cubic feet of natural gas every year and even reduces our greenhouse gas emissions by more than 3.9 million pounds annually.”

Mike Chihoski, Senior Vice President, OSF Healthcare System

The OSF St. Francis Medical Center heating plant staff was concerned. The three, 30,000 pound per hour steam boilers serving the hospital functioned, but their original register burners were aging, parts availability was uncertain and energy efficiency was poor.

To replace the burners, ENTEC offered the owner a choice between standard efficiency burners using jack-shaft combustion control and similar burners equipped with a highly efficient parallel positioning system and oxygen trim control. The owner chose the high efficiency system based on an estimated natural gas savings of 157,000 therms per year.
With the decision made, the real challenge of the project began. The heating plant of an operating medical center must maintain full standby capacity at all times. ENTEC’s implementation team developed a detailed schedule to retrofit the burners and combustion controls making sure the heating plant stayed in full compliance every step of the way.
In the first full year after the project’s completion, OSF St. Francis Medical Center saved 330,000 therms of natural gas over previous years. This exceeded the original energy savings projection by 110%, in spite of an increased facility load.
The dramatic energy savings led to a simple payback of less than 13 months, and a return on investment of 93%. The updated equipment has readily available replacement parts, which puts the staff of the heating plant at ease. The greenhouse gas emission reduction of 3.9 million pounds annually is simply an added benefit.
Parallel positioning combustion controls provide an elegant solution to the high cost of heating plant operation by increasing burner efficiency throughout the entire firing rate range; an important tool in facility owner’s quest for the lowest total cost of ownership.
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