Hospitals are no stranger to regulations, especially ones from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In particular, the diesel powered emergency generators found at many health care facilities are subject to a number of EPA regulations and limits.
These regulations were added to in 2011, with the Tier 4I certification requirements. These requirements added stricter emission standards for diesel generators in order to obtain the Tier 4I certification. In addition, Tier 4I requires that operators who wish to run the emergency generators for non-emergency situations must meet the Tier 4I certification.
These non-emergency situations include the following:
Storm avoidance or abatement. The practice of storm avoidance gives hospitals the opportunity to stabilize power in anticipation of utility power disruptions due to incoming storms. In addition, the operator also may elect to self-generate power after utility power has been restored to allow time for a return to normal, stabilized utility power supply.
Prime power. Prime power refers to the option of hospital operators to self-generate power to maintain uptime, improve reliability or augment utility power as needed. One example would be to self-generate power during anticipated periods of high demand to ensure reliability.
Peak shaving or rate curtailment. Peak shaving is a process through which hospitals can participate in an arrangement with local power utilities to self-generate power during the utility’s peak demand periods and avoid incurring peak utility rates. This practice is more common in regions of the country where utility rates are well above the national average.
In January of 2015, Tier 4F certifications will become effective and some manufacturers are already offering generator sets that meet these tighter emission standards.
If a generator is built after January 1, 2011 or the operator wishes to run in the above non-emergency scenarios, the generator must obtain Tier 4I certification. If a generator is not Tier 4I certified, then the EPA permits a combined 100 hours per year of exercising, maintenance and nonemergency operation during times when the utility is available.
For hospitals planning a new backup power system or new uses for existing power systems, it is recommended that the annual runtime average is assessed in order to determine if Tier 4I or Tier 4F certification is necessary.
To read more on the emission requirements, click here.