Groundbreaking Solar Project Completed at Haitian Hospital

12/06/12

Project is the first in a series planned for developing world to reduce fossil fuel use, provide reliable power

Engineering design and consulting firm Mazzetti Nash Lipsey Burch (Mazzetti) announced the completion of their first renewable energy installation for a developing world hospital in Milot, Haiti, the beginning of a larger effort by the firm to bring clean, affordable and reliable energy and sustainable design to the developing world.

During the 2010 earthquake, Hôpital Sacré Coeur was cut off from the electricity grid and has had to supply their own power from diesel generators, which are expensive to run and emit substantial particulate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The hospital’s power is the only electricity available for the entire town of Milot and the newly installed solar system provides power at a reduced cost, and provides more reliable power to improve the safety of patient care.

“The electricity that powers the hospital is often the only light source available for the entire town, and is therefore important to the entire community,” said Ron Bourgault, Mazzetti’s chief electrical engineer who has traveled to Milot three times in the last two years to help upgrade the hospitals’ electrical wiring, including the installation of new generators and to install the solar system. “The children will often study in the streets at night by the light provided by the hospital because there is no other light available.”

Mazzetti is the project developer, having designed the system, raised money to pay for it and organized volunteers and local contractors to install it. The hospital is paying for the system through an agreement with Mazzetti that is similar to power purchase agreements used in the U.S.: the engineering firm owns the panels, and the hospital pays a stable and affordable price for the power over time, and will eventually own the panels. The cost for energy produced by the solar system for Crudem, organization that owns and runs the hospital, is substantially lower than they pay to operate its existing diesel generators.

“In addition to the new solar system, we installed an internet based monitoring system which allows us to monitor and record the performance of the system in Milot. The hourly data upload allows us to predict when a cloud is overhead and the location of the sun as the different arrays produce different levels of energy as the sun moves across the sky,” said Bourgault.

Mazzetti plans to become a major project developer of renewable energy systems in the developing world by 2020. Mazzetti is also working in collaboration with the Sextant Foundation (www.sextantfoundation.org) and the architecture firm MASS Design Group, to plan for other sustainable public health projects. MASS and Mazzetti have teamed up to transform health care in Port-au-Prince through the country’s first permanent Cholera Treatment Center, and Mazzetti has been instrumental in the water system’s design. The wastewater treatment system treats all of the wastewater from the facility on-site – ultimately reducing any further transmittance of the disease. Other Mazzetti projects underway with MASS Design Group include a tuberculosis hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and a pediatric Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia.

“We have long-term plans to invest in sustainable infrastructure across the developing world, where it can provide incredible value to local communities,” said Mazzetti CEO, Walt Vernon. “Sustainable design can lower operational costs for vital services such as hospitals, decrease environmental impact and most importantly, improve the quality of life for people.”

About Mazzetti

Founded in 1962, Mazzetti is leading the industry into a new era of infrastructure that will serve the needs of current and future generations through a broad palate of thought leadership, strategic and planning, financing, and project delivery processes. Mazzetti was one of the first engineering firms in the U.S. to add an environmental performance practice to their list of client services and now offers EUI modeling, monitoring and performance reporting as part of their basic services. Mazzetti has 10 offices across the country and serves the healthcare, mission critical, laboratory, and higher education sectors. www.mazzetti.com.

About MASS Design Group

MASS Design Group is a 501(c)(3) pending, not-for-profit firm that designs, builds, and advocates for buildings that improve health and strengthen communities.

MASS’s inaugural project, the 140-bed Butaro Hospital in rural Rwanda, opened in July of 2011 and has since won Acute Medical Care Facility of the Year by Contract Magazine, Architect’s Top 10 Projects of the Year for the Public Good, and was a finalist for Building of the Year at the World Architecture Festival, as well as for London’s Design Museum Design of the Year. MASS recently accepted the Zumtobel Award and Contract Magazine’s Designer of the Year Award for 2012. www.massdesigngroup.org.

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