Super-Efficient Dehumidfying Eliminates Costly Reheating of Water to Win the Battle Against Humidity
St.Vincent’s is a 338-bed hospital located just outside of Birmingham, Alabama, known for its community involvement and
commitment to caring for the poor and vulnerable. Alabama is known for its mix of mercilessly high heat and oppressively high humidity.
This creates a very large problem for hospitals like St. Vincent’s with its rooftop-mounted HVAC system. These systems cannot
independently control temperature and humidity, so when outdoor air is used it creates more indoor humidity, prompting even more expensive
lowering of thermostats. To combat this, chilled air is often reheated to rid it of humidity but this is also an expensive process. So
when St. Vincent’s wanted to open a new orthopedic wing, they needed a strategy to fight this problem. After all, a hospital devoted to
those with limited means has limits of its own.
Luckily for St. Vincent’s, Trane is in front of the curve when it comes to this problem. Trane has developed a whole new
technology to handle cooling in high-humidity environments – the CDQ (Cool, Dry, Quiet) desiccant system. The CDQ application eliminates
the need for reheating water to achieve proper humidity control. It employs an integrated active desiccant wheel that captures water vapor
from the cooling coil. The wheel then slowly rotates to be regenerated by return or mixed air upstream of the coil—using no additional
heat. Or, to put it more simply, at St. Vincent’s, operating rooms can stay at 62 F and 50 percent relative humidity—even during
Birmingham summers, without incurring outrageous energy costs.
St. Vincent’s new HVAC system, which combines Trane’s M-Series Climate Changer™ air handler with the CDQ™ system has not
only done the job, it has turned out to be an award-winning product. “Trane stepped up to the plate and provided an economic, timely and
well-designed product that exceeded everyone’s expectations,” according to Al Mauro of Hardy Corporation, the mechanical contractors on
the project. And the buzz extended far beyond Birmingham. The CDQ desiccant system was the recipient of the 2006 Frost & Sullivan Product
Innovation of the Year Award presented to the companies that achieve excellence in new products and technologies. This story is proof
that award-winning ideas can happen on any job—but when they happen on a job like St. Vincent’s, it’s especially gratifying.
St. Vincent’s is a nonprofit hospital dedicated to better health in Birmingham since 1898. This Catholic
health care facility is a member of Ascension Health, the United States’ largest nonprofit Catholic health
system. St. Vincent’s is a past winner of the Alabama Quality Award for Healthcare and has been named
a McKesson Clinical Leader. Services include: Women’s and Children’s Services, Oncology, Cardiology,
Orthopedics, Neurology and Surgical Services. More information is available at www.stv.org. As
Ascension Health’s flagship digital hospital, St. Vincent’s has been recognized nationally for technology
initiatives and was named one of the country’s 100 Most Wired Hospitals.