Brigham and Women’s Hospital

The Client

Located in Boston’s Longwood Medical Center area, Brigham and Women’s Hospital is among the nation’s top Hospitals. It is the second largest teaching facility hospital of Harvard Medical School, and the largest general medical and surgical facility the Longwood Area. Established in 1980, this healthcare facility has been home of many first breakthroughs in the medical practice and continues to be one of the most innovative healthcare facilities in the world. It has constantly outperformed similar hospitals, excelling in the care of the most complex patient conditions.

Brigham and Women is home to six different core service lines that ranges from oncology to cardiovascular specialties, located across 14 different buildings. The hospital holds around 800 beds, with a 24/7 medical emergency facility, intense care units and in-patient care, requiring intense and comprehensive repair and maintenance on every facility. Brigham and Women’s Hospital has been a regular APM Steam customer since 2008, constantly providing comprehensive and detailed assessments on the health of their heating and steam systems.

The Steam System

As it is often the case with large healthcare facilities, the Brigham and Women’s campus is vast and uses steam extensively for unit heaters, heat exchangers, air handlers, humidifiers and sterilization equipment. It has over 500 steam traps located in crawl spaces, basements, and nearby patient areas, which requires field personnel not only to be knowledgeable about how to operate efficiently and safely in different conditions, but also to be aware and thoughtful about how to get the job done without disturbing patients.

Delivering Consistent Results

APM has been providing yearly steam surveys and repairs for a decade at Brigham and Women’s. On our first survey back in 2008, we identified, inventoried, and tested over 500 traps, and as expected we found that most traps were operating correctly, but there was also a number of traps found to defective with steam leaking or blowing through, or plugged. The percentage of failed traps in service was found to be over 13%.

As we normally do after a survey, we presented a report with all the information collected, including the full inventory of traps, and for each trap, we detail their type, application, description of where to find them, manufacturer, pressure rating, and status. In addition, we tallied the calculated losses and provided an estimated cost of doing the repairs. The return on investment of repairing the traps identified as defective was very attractive: the savings would pay for the repair project in 98 days.

This first set of repairs had a simple payback period of only 98 days.

Along with the steam trap report, APM technicians are trained to assess the overall health of the facility, inspecting valves and piping as they perform the survey and providing recommendations to the facility manager on how to ensure the steam system is operating as efficiently as possible.

After a couple of years of performing steam trap surveys, detecting defective traps and providing recommendations, Brigham and Women’s brought their steam trap failure rate into single digits and it has remained there every since. On the latest survey of their low pressure traps, APM found that only 6% of active traps failed, which is, essentially, as low of a failure rate as a facility manager can hope. On an average year, we estimate that surveying and repairing steam traps generates savings over $25,000. 

APM estimates that Brigham and Women’s commitment to preventative maintenance of their steam system has saved them over $250,000 over the past 10 years.

We have helped many more hospitals and large healthcare facilities around the country achieve similar results. Our team can help your hospital run a best-in-class preventative maintenance program on your steam system. Please contact us for a quick conversation on how we can help.