Big Green

This year’s hurricane season spurred us to better prepare for extended power outages. In the past, we’ve weathered Gloria, Bob, Irene, and Sandy as well as many severe tropical and winter storms. It’s not if but when we’ll get hit next.

In the spirit of self-reliance, and to minimize staff downtime, we decided to install a generator. But not just any generator. A Cummins 150 kilowatt power system with an 8.9 liter turbocharged 6-cylinder natural gas engine. We’ve dubbed it “Big Green” because of its green metal housing. In the event of an outage, Big Green will automatically start and provide power for its duration.

Before Big Green was set in place, our Ron Campbell oversaw the enabling work. That included several steps: determining which electrical services fed our buildings, calculating power demand, installing three automatic transfer switches, digging trenches for electrical and gas conduit, pouring a concrete pad, and wiring. A display panel in our lobby will monitor the system status.

Big Green came in on a flatbed truck. It was set in place using an industrial crane with a 90-ton capacity. Its arm, which can extend 200 feet, lifted, pivoted, and then lowered Big Green atop its pad. Mounting bolt locations were marked, holes drilled, and, in short order, installation was complete. A test under full load, some 90kW, confirmed that Big Green is more than capable of running our systems with plenty of power to spare.

We hope we will be spared Mother Nature’s fury. But hope, we know from past experience, is not a strategy.