Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center: NFPA 110 Generator Audible Alarming
Novant Health and Carolina CAT seek a new generator audible alarming solution to simplify NFPA compliance for the addition of new engine-generators.
Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center, a nonprofit 622-bed tertiary medical center in Charlotte, NC. has 13 emergency generators and is planning on adding 2 generators in the future. It is the parent company of Charlotte Orthopedic Hospital, which is located across the street and recently underwent a renovation and addition beginning in 2015. Part of the renovation included the addition of two new emergency generators, to be managed by Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center. The engine-generators located at Charlotte Orthopedic Hospital are connected via a fiber optic communication line across the street, and are required to comply with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 110 standards Level 1.
According to NFPA 110, a standard for inspecting and testing emergency generators, all Level 1 generators (generators that could result in the loss of life or serious injury, should they fail) must have remote audible alarming to alert personnel to the presence of generator safety and shutdown indications.
The standard states: “The minimum remote alarm annunciation is to alert personnel at a constantly attended station somewhere on the site when the facility is in use as a Level 1 system. If the site is not continuously occupied, ‘network remote’ should allow people at another site to know the operating status of the equipment.”
This innovative technology solution for a NFPA alarm touch panel met the current monitoring needs and fast paced installation timeframe of the project. This economical cost savings approach has provided a base infrastructure for growth for the hospital’s NFPA monitoring of future additional gensets.
–Eddie L. Roland, General Manager Advanced Electrical Services, Carolina CAT
As the construction of the new Carolina Orthopedic Hospital was nearing completion, an evaluation of the existing system’s generator NFPA monitoring system was conducted by Novant Health and Carolina CAT personnel. The results of this review indicated that the existing system was not able to be upgraded to meet Novant Health’s specific operational requirements. The existing system was proprietary and provided no local support, which prompted Novant Health to seek out a more timely and cost-effective solution. Novant Health and the construction team reached out to Carolina CAT, the supplier of the generators to explore their options.
The ability to display the NFPA parameters for the existing and future 17 engine-generators for monitor was a concern. The best solution would be one that complied with NFPA 110 Level 1 and addressed two vital Novant Health requirements: limited wall area for installing the remote annunciators and the adaptability of integrating different generators. It was critical for Novant Health to find a quick and cost-effective resolution. Carolina CAT, working with Affinity Energy, proposed a new solution that would modernize, simplify, and meet NFPA 110 standards for generator remote audible alarming.
Affinity Energy and Carolina CAT developed a functional solution that minimized the amount of hardware required and was adaptable for current and future expansion. Instead of installing separate remote annunciators for each generator (which would have required more wall area, wiring, and cabling), Affinity Energy engineers digitally migrated each generator’s 14 safety indicators into a local human machine interface (HMI) driven by a SCADA back end.
The system was designed using Trihedral’s VTScada and is displayed on one large 46-inch touchscreen display. It’s connected to the pre-existing fiber optic communication network and powered by a UPS.
This fast track project demonstrates how ingenuity and collaboration can achieve a common and cost-effective solution. Initially, the timeframe from initial design to completion was estimated at 3-4 weeks. It was completed 1 week ahead of schedule.
Presently in Novant Health’s switchboard operation room at the main hospital, they have a 46-inch touchscreen monitor that provides visual and audible alerts for each of the hospital’s generators on one screen. When any generator’s safety indication or shutdown alarm required by the NFPA 110 occurs, members of the 7x24x365 switchboard team are immediately notified so they then communicate to facility management to respond to the condition.
Eddie L. Roland and Jerry Beavers with Carolina CAT worked on the project with the Affinity Energy team. Eddie noted that, “this innovative technology solution for a NFPA alarm touch panel met the current monitoring needs and fast paced installation timeframe of the project. This economical cost savings approach has provided a base infrastructure for growth for the hospital’s NFPA monitoring of future additional gensets.”