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NSMC Salem Hospital building ‘green’ power plant

North Shore Medical Center (NSMC) is building a new central utility plant to generate cleaner, safer and more cost-efficient energy for the medical center’s facilities. This state-of-the-art facility will replace NSMC’s existing 100-year-old plant and is expected to be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council – to the benefit to patients, staff and the greater Salem community.

The new plant will be located directly behind the Davenport building in the low-lying area near the loading dock. The existing plant -- which sits directly in front of the main entrance -- will be demolished once the new plant is completed. Site work on the project began in December 2012 and construction is expected to continue until July 2014.

“Our new plant will be more efficient and environmentally responsible,” says Mary Jo Gagnon, NSMC Senior Vice President for Operations. “Furthermore, it will make our power resources more secure, self-reliant and dependable.”

Excavation and blasting

In the next several weeks, and continuing through the summer, NSMC will be entering a new phase of the project. In addition to the construction of the utility plant itself, crews will be digging underground utility trenches around the campus to connect electrical and communication feeds from both Highland Avenue and Jefferson Avenue to the new facility. In several locations, this will necessitate blasting through ledge so that the underground conduits can be installed.

While these short, low-impact blasts – each just a few seconds in duration – are expected to have minimal impact on surrounding neighborhoods, some noise and vibration is possible. These blasts will only occur up to four times a day at scheduled intervals starting July 12 and continuing through the summer.

No traffic through campus

Beginning Wednesday July 10, a portion of the Axelrod access road that connects the front and back of the Salem Hospital campus will be closed for approximately three months. Throughout construction, detour signs will be posted and security officers will be on site to direct traffic. Patients and visitors should allow extra time, however, for parking and wayfinding.

Birthplace/Spaulding/Axelrod 5 Access through Dove Ave.

Patients and visitors looking to access the Axelrod 5 entrance, the Birthplace or Spaulding North Shore should enter the campus via Dove Avenue from Jefferson Avenue.

Updates online

NSMC has set up a dedicated web site to provide construction updates on the project. For information, please visit https://nsmc.partners.org/salem_construction_update

About the plant

NSMC has operated its own utility plan for nearly 100 years. This small building near the hospital’s main entrance generates steam for heat, hot water and sterilization for the entire medical center. It is also the central distribution point for electricity for all of NSMC Salem Hospital and Mass General for Children at NSMC.

The new utility plant will employ computer controlled steam boilers fired with natural gas for greater efficiency. Taking advantage of co-generation technology, (combined heat and power) it will generate about 40 percent of the campus’s electricity. It also captures waste heat, uses it to generate steam, and then uses the steam to generate hot water that is used throughout the campus. NSMC expects the facility to be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council as a LEED Silver building. LEED stands for Leader in Energy and Environmental Design.

Additionally, patients will be more secure: By connecting with electrical and communication “feeds” from both Highland and Jefferson avenues, NSMC will be less likely to experience power or service interruptions in the future.


NSMC (North Shore Medical Center) is a multi-site health system headquartered in Salem, Mass., which includes NSMC Salem Hospital, NSMC Union Hospital in Lynn, MassGeneral for Children at North Shore Medical Center, NSMC Heart Center, NSMC Women’s Center and the physician network known as North Shore Physicians Group. NSMC and Massachusetts General Hospital together provide care at the Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care and the Mass General/North Shore Cancer Center in Danvers. NSMC is a member of Partners HealthCare, which was founded by Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.  #northshoremed

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