SITE: Comprehensive Health Services, Cape Canaveral, FL
INSTALLER: Zabatt Power Systems
SYSTEM OVERVIEW: AKSA 2x400kW paralleled natural gas generators with aluminum 180mph rated enclosures, Powervar 40kVA and 1500VA UPS systems
STORY: Zabatt was chosen for this project by the GC based on the best overall package, and ability to install the generators as a turn-key package. Zabatt worked with our long-time partner, Computer Power Systems, to provide the UPS package. Zabatt’s technician commented that the startup of AKSA paralleled system, using the deep sea controller platform, went very smooth and was complete within a couple days.
Re-focusing on Power
The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was catastrophic with three major hurricanes making landfall on either the continental United States or U.S. territories. Wide power disruptions from the latest storms have turned up the heat on addressing grid vulnerability and reliability of standby power systems.
Hurricanes like Katrina in 2005 and Sandy in 2012 caused billions of dollars in damages and exposed vulnerabilities in emergency power. A repeat came just last year when, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, four more storms combined caused approximately $265 billion in damage. The 2017 storms saw similar emergency power issues, especially in one case where 14 residents of a Florida nursing home died after the building lost power during Irma. The nursing home did not have standby power to run air conditioning, and the prolonged exposure to high temperatures ultimately led to the deaths.
This has since led to a change in policy in Florida. Generators have been mandated to power air conditioning in nursing homes and assisted living facilities and maintain no more than 81° F temperatures in an area where all residents can congregate. All assisted care, nursing homes and medical facilities must also meet the backup/emergency power codes of NFPA 110 and NEC 700, meaning emergency power must be available within 10 seconds to life safety and critical branch loads if a utility failure occurs.
To meet these requirements, many facilities are installing Generac Industrial Power generators. Generac provides a range of backup/emergency power solutions that go beyond NEC and NFPA codes. Administrators, facility managers, and specifiers may need to meet state and municipal codes for generator location and minimum generator runtime standards. For example, emergency generators need to be protected from floods, earthquake, and fire, so those requirements typically rule out most basement placements.
When installing a generator, Generac follows NFPA and NEC standards. NFPA 110 states that for natural conditions, Emergency Power Supply System (EPSS) design should consider the “100-year storm” flooding level or the flooding level predicted by the sea, lake and overland surges from hurricanes. This means locating the generator in an area that mitigates flooding potential.
In 2008, the NEC added section 708, “Critical Operations Power Systems”. NEC 708 reiterated that equipment must be located above the 100-year floodplain. The flood-related requirements call for a number of actions:
- Using available flood hazard information for the siting, design, and construction of buildings.
- Designing and building structures to withstand anticipated flood loads.
- Using flood-damage-resistant materials below the design flood elevation.
- Mounting the unit no less than 2 ft. above ground or above the point identified as the prevailing highest weather level mark.
While diesel has been the traditional fuel choice, many healthcare facilities are now using natural gas or Generac Bi-Fuel™ generators, upon approval of the AHJ, to meet runtime requirements during times of crisis. Bi-Fuel™ is a great option for healthcare facilities because it provides the best of both worlds — the on-site fuel requirements of NEC 700 and NFPA 110 thanks to the on-site diesel and the benefits of longer runtimes since the generator runs primarily on natural gas. Generac offers fully integrated solutions that are the only EPA-compliant generators straight from the factory in both the 500kW and 600kW nodes. These units can also be paralleled to accommodate even larger applications.
Natural gas generators are also being specified for many healthcare facilities, as the permitting requirements are easier. In addition, more AHJ’s are now considering the natural gas pipeline network to be an acceptable alternative to on-site fuel storage, as the strong underground natural gas infrastructure is rarely impacted by weather or other crisis events. According to a 2013 report by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory, natural gas distribution systems operate at a reliability rate exceeding 99.999%, with the exception of seismically active areas. Incidentally, that makes the natural gas distribution system approximately one-thousand times more reliable than a single-engine generator set, which is typically assumed to be 99% reliable. This allows many AHJs to accept it as meeting the code requirements related to having a reliable fuel source.
Finally, natural gas generators avoid the fuel supply and maintenance issues inherent in diesel-fueled systems. NFPA 110 states that diesel fuel tanks that are subject to temperature variations can experience accelerated fuel degradation, especially if the tanks are outside and above ground. The presence of water can lead to microbiological contamination and growth, which in turn can lead to general or pitting corrosion of steel tanks and components, possibly resulting in filter plugging, operational issues or a hydrocarbon release into the environment. NFPA 110 also requires diesel fuel to be tested annually and remediated as necessary.
Beyond a push for new and improved emergency power systems, there’s a growing focus on improving their functionality and reliability. A National Public Radio report that aired in the wake of the Florida incident stated that one-third of U.S. nursing homes have been cited for failing to inspect their generators each week or to test them monthly; 1,373 facilities were cited more than once. Generac’s innovative Modular Power System (MPS) can provide the large power output needed for hospitals and bigger healthcare facilities while offering the benefits of redundancy, scalability and resiliency through integrated paralleling. In the unlikely event that a unit is offline, the other generator(s) will still support life safety systems. Generac’s MPS approach does not require dedicated switchgear sections. Future expansion generators simply tie directly to the generator bus. Since the paralleling is already built into the generators, the MPS system fundamentally has greater flexibility for growth, requires less electrical room space and reduces initial capital cost.
For more information on emergency power preparedness, download a Generac Industrial Power sponsored e-book from Electrical Construction & Maintenance Magazine HERE.
FDEP Rules for Fuel Storage Tanks
Due to the new mandate in Florida requiring nursing homes and assisted living facilities to have onsite generators and fuel, many questions are circulating about exactly what is required to register and maintain compliance with state requirements. Stationary aboveground tanks with a capacity greater than 550 gallons and Underground storage tanks with a capacity greater than 110 gallons are required to follow these FDEP rules:
- Rules for Aboveground Storage Tank Systems see Chapter 62-762, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.).
- Rules for Underground Storage Tank Systems see Chapter 62-761, F.A.C.
Storage tank system equipment will need to be listed on the Department’s Equipment
Approval/Registration List, see Rules 62-762.851(2) or 62-761.850(2), F.A.C.
You will need to contact the inspector in the county where your storage tank will be located
(Storage Tank District and County Contact List), 30 to 45 days prior to the installation of the storage tank. In addition, you will need to provide 48 to 72-hours prior confirmation notification to the inspector, see Rules 62-762.411 or 62-761.405, F.A.C.
Your storage tank will also need to be registered with the Department per Rules 62-762.401
or 62-761.400, F.A.C.:
- Storage tanks at new facilities (those without a current Facility #) must be registered through the Online Services Business Portal ESSA no later than 30 days prior to installation, or you can submit the Storage Tank Facility Registration Form in electronic or paper format to the Registration Section. To contact a Storage Tank Registration Representative call (850) 245-8839, or firstname.lastname@example.org; or
- Storage tanks at facilities with existing registered storage tanks can register the new storage tank(s) seven days prior to placing fuel into the storage tank.
If you are installing an underground storage tank then the storage tank must be installed by a
Pollutant Storage System Contractor, licensed by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation per Rule 62-761.500(1)(h), F.A.C.
You will need to provide Financial Responsibility for your storage tank system. See Rules 62-762.421 or 62-761.420, F.A.C., and the Financial Responsibility website.
Here are some additional equipment and start-up requirements that apply to your generator storage tank:
- Secondary containment, spill containment, and overfill protection, and go through start-up testing to ensure integrity/proper operation;
- Small diameter integral piping, if in contact with soil or over the waters of the state, shall have secondary containment and go through start-up testing to ensure integrity;
- Storage tank systems shall have a method or combination of methods of release detection that can detect a new release from any portion of the storage tank system, and release detection devices are required to have start-up operability testing.
Zabatt Power Systems offers full maintenance programs to ensure you stay in compliance with state and FDEP requirements, as well as maintain proper documentation. Contact us today to join the thousands of customers that depend on Zabatt for backup power solutions and support.