While data centers for government agencies or financial institutions would certainly feel the effects of downtime due to an electrical interruption, hospitals have the most to lose.
How can hospital leadership be sure they’re choosing the right critical backup power system (uninterruptible power supply or UPS) to meet their availability, reliability, and budget goals? Before you select your next UPS system, consider the points listed below.
First, evaluate each system’s features, topology, and how it manages step loads and charges and discharges to determine if the product can meet the specific demands of the facility’s loads. This is especially true for protecting sensitive imaging equipment, which is vulnerable to micro-outages and may generate big swings in power demand over short periods of time that may impact the performance of the facility’s electrical system.
The NFPA 111 Standard requires power to be restored via backup generators in 10 seconds, yet many operators still want the reassurance of minutes of runtime on their UPS.
This is where vendors can help educate their customers on industry trends, explaining that advancements in technology have led to quicker startup times for on-site backup generators and therefore less need for extended runtime.
Reliability should be a key concern given that healthcare facilities are expected to remain fully operational during a power outage, protecting both the lives of patients and the availability of their medical records. In all mission critical facilities, especially hospitals, equipment failure is simply not an option. Conventional battery-based UPS systems require frequent maintenance and battery replacement, which can be costly and introduces additional risk due to human error during routine maintenance.
Total Cost of Ownership
While doctors use x-rays, thermometers, CT scans, and surgical procedures to care for patients, the hospital’s finance department has its own examinations it conducts to determine the health of the balance sheet.
The total cost of ownership — the cost of the equipment, installation, maintenance, and operation over the life of the system — needs to be carefully calculated and considered. One key element is the energy efficiency of the UPS system. Typical battery-based systems may have an energy efficiency of 92% – 94% at typical loads, while some systems, such as those featuring flywheel energy storage, can see energy efficiency of 98% or higher.
Ultimately, it comes down to comparing and contrasting. If hospital administrators take the time to survey their needs and determine which UPS on the market is best suited for their facility, they can ensure patient safety, increase reliability, and save money in the process.