Posted at: 06/25/2012 5:14 PM
| Updated at: 06/25/2012 6:13 PM
By: Mark Mulholland
GLENS FALLS - Among all the high-tech devices and machines at Glens Falls Hospital's Renal Dialysis Center, it's the equipment on the roof that's getting the most attention.
Solar panels now warm the water needed for dialysis. The center uses 55-hundred gallons of warm water every day, which is expensive to heat. Until now.
The hospital partnered with the state to build a solar-thermal system. The panels help warm the water to 77-degrees, which is the temperature needed for dialysis on patients like Gary Evans, whose been receiving treatment here for four years.
"Three days a week, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning," Evans said.
Evans has had just one kidney since he was 18. And that one hasn't functioned for the past four years.
So these machines do what his kidney can't. Filtering impurities, using dozens of gallons of warm water per patient.
"We bring city water into the building at around 50-degrees, but we need to heat it up to treat the patients, to about 77," said Ron Zimmerman,V.P. of plant operations at Glens Falls Hospital.
The panels reduce the hospital's dependence on natural gas by nearly 50-percent.
The savings they realize in five years or so, will more than cover the 40-thousand dollar up-front cost, most of which was paid for by a NYSERDA grant.
"We can take that and re-invest it in patient care or new technology," said Zimmerman.
And for patients like Gary Evans, there's no difference in treatment.
"I think it's a good thing," said Evans. "Anything you can do to control cost and become more efficient."