Renewable Energy at Marian Medical Center

Renewable Energy at Marian Medical Center


  • 95% of electricity demand supplied by renewable power
  • Savings of $300,000 per year
  • > 42,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions avoided each year
  • Sustainable long-term renewable power

The Problem

Identify and develop a source of sustainable, long-term renewable energy while saving money on the cost of electricity.

The Strategy Selected

With the nearby Santa Maria Landfill, hospital staff developed a plan to use landfill gas from the facility to provide electricity to the hospital. As a large user of electricity and natural gas, hospitals are a natural choice for onsite co-generation. The use of landfill gas as a fuel source is an opportunity to achieve a fully renewable facility.

Implementation Process

The Team:

  • Plant operations
  • Hospital design staff
  • Energy management
  • Administration
  • Communications

Development of a landfill gas to energy facility required close coordination with the City of Santa Maria landfill ownership and the facility designer/developer, Janechek & Associates. A two mile pipeline was constructed to deliver the landfill gas to Marian Medical Center. A 1 megawatt (MW) engine generator facility was constructed onsite adjacent to the Central Plant and connected in parallel with the utility electrical service.

The electrical generation facility has been operational since 2007 and has consistently supplied approximately 95% of the electricity demand. In order to meet the needs of the expanding campus, a 1.4 MW expansion is planned for 2013. The expansion will also use waste heat from the engine generators to supply steam and hot water to the hospital, further reducing the demand for natural gas.

Challenges and Lessons Learned

Implementing a project of this scope required close coordination with a number of state and local agencies, including local building officials, OSHPD and the local air pollution control district.

Developing a long-term local energy supply requires careful planning and evaluation of current and future energy requirements.

Demographic information

Located 150 miles north of Los Angeles and 250 miles south of San Francisco, Santa Maria is nestled in the heart of California's picturesque Central Coast wine country. Santa Maria Residents enjoy a year-round average temperature in the 70s, the beauty of nearby beaches and rolling foothills, and a safe and comfortable lifestyle free from the traffic congestion and smog of our big-city neighbors to the north and south. Further, a stable economic base has ensured Santa Maria's standing as an agricultural, regional trading, manufacturing and service center.

Annually Marian sees approximately 54,000 Emergency Services patients and more than 111,850 outpatient visits annually. Marian births about 250 babies a month which translates to 3,000 babies annually. Marian’s Medical/Surgical Unit admits more than 800 patients a month and approximately 9,600 patients annually.

Marian employs nearly 1,600 staff members. With more than 300 physicians on the medical staff, over the last four years Marian has recruited more than 60 physicians. Marian also has approximately 300 volunteers and 150 volunteens.

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