Advocate Health Care

Boiler Burner Replacements

Boiler Burner Replacements - Illinois


Ten steam boilers were upgraded at six Advocate sites: Christ Medical Center, Condell Medical Center, Good Samaritan Hospital, Good Shepherd Hospital, Illinois Masonic Medical Center, and Trinity Hospital. Boilers were retrofitted with new burners pre-purchased by Advocate, according to installation specs created by G/BA.

The boilers previously had mechanical linkages controlling the rate of combustion, which limited ability to turn down the firing rate. The new burners are capable of a 10 to 1 turndown, replacing existing burners that, in most cases, were capable of only 4 to 1 at best. The burners use electronic controls in conjunction with VFDs to optimize combustion. The eight largest boilers also incorporate oxygen trim controls. The project has improved reliability at all sites, while maintaining N+1 redundancy. Operational costs were reduced by more than $522,000 a year, and utility incentives totalling nearly $831,000 (from four different utilities) helped fund the capital costs.


Source Award
2014 Excellence in Engineering Award, ASHRAE Illinois Chapter.
2014 Nicor Gas energySMART program, Impact Award


  • G/BA performed energy studies at each of the hospitals to identify energy-saving projects. Advocate was able to prioritize burner replacements at six of its 11 facilities in this manner; by addressing the replacement as a single capital project, Advocate was able to ensure funding for all high-priority sites.
  • Advocate pre-purchased the burners directly from the manufacturer before bidding the installation portion of the project. This choice involved several advantages: discounted equipment pricing, faster equipment delivery from the supplier in Germany, burner sourcing ensured from the preferred manufacturer, and competitive bidding on installation services because contractor equipment markup was reduced.
  • Purchasing equipment first and then bidding the project with G/ BA’s installation specification saved Advocate $185,965 compared with a conventional turn-key proposal.
  • Utility incentive applications were streamlined by the equipment pre-purchase and by aggregating multiple facilities in each service territory.
  • Overall, natural gas incentives paid for half of the total project cost, including installation and engineering. Electrical incentives covered an additional 1.2% of the total project cost. The simple payback was 1.51 years after considering the incentives.
  • The project reduced the boilers’ natural gas use and combustion through energy efficiency improvements, and lowered emissions rates of pollutants per unit of natural gas.