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Nalco Program Helps Veterans Administration Facility Improve Indoor Air Quality, Reduce Carbon Emissions

Nalco has helped the Veterans Administration's Fayetteville VA Medical Center (FVAMC) in North Carolina reduce energy use, cut utility costs and avoid the release of more than 1,920 tons of greenhouse gas annually.

Hospital officials wanted to increase the building's energy efficiency and improve indoor air quality for patients and staff at the 70-year old facility. Individual rooms and offices are heated and cooled by fan coils, individual wall-mounted heating and cooling units that were installed 35 years ago.

The FVAMC environmental team approached Nalco for a solution. Nalco engineers applied patented COIL-FLO® technology to deep clean and disinfect the coils, installed high efficiency, antimicrobial filters and thoroughly cleaned and disinfected the internal surfaces of each unit.

Air temperatures are now more consistent and the filters reduced particulates in patient care areas by as much as 90 percent, helping eliminate odors and creating a safer, more pleasant environment for both patients and staff members.

Shelley Reeder, the medical center's Green Environmental Management Systems coordinator, said the difference after the project's completion was noticeable.

"We had a lot of positive feedback from people who said they could tell the difference," Reeder said. "We got emails from people saying the air smelled cleaner and their eyes weren't itchy anymore. They were ecstatic that we were doing something with the fan coil units."

Improved efficiency reduced the hospital's utility costs by $154,000 per year and the total cost of the project was repaid in energy savings within seven months. Greenhouse gas savings were equal to removing more than 340 cars a year from the road.

The project won a 2011 VA Sustainability Achievement Award which is given to VA employees and facilities who have demonstrated outstanding environmental stewardship and whose efforts have resulted in significant contributions to the environment. One requirement for the award was that the project could be duplicated at other VA facilities. The Salisbury, N.C., VAMC is adopting a fan coil cleaning project of its own.