VA Maryland Health Care System
Keeping Facilities Healthy Means Reducing Costs
When walking into a large building or onto a campus with several large structures, no one thinks about the heating or air conditioning, unless they're not working. No one thinks much about water either, unless there's a leak, a stoppage, or a plumbing issue. No one worries about electricity, about the brightness or dimness of lighting, unless light switches aren't working or electrical outlets are dead. No one considers the mounting costs related to damaged fixtures, pipes, switches, outlets, or systems, unless inconveniences arise, except Whitney Burger.
Burger, an energy engineer at the VA Maryland Health Care System, works on keeping the health care system's energy consumption efficient and its engineering and construction practices compliant with all relevant codes and standards. Recently, she was selected as the as the Department of Veterans Affairs Energy Engineer of the Year by the VA Office of Construction and Facilities Management.
"We're lucky to have Whitney Burger on our team at the VA Maryland Health Care System" said Dr. Adam M. Robinson Jr., director of the VA Maryland Health Care System. "Her diligence and precision has saved us money by ensuring that we aren't wasting resources."
Burger, who began her career at the VA Maryland Health Care System in 2004 as a Technical Career Field intern and who joined the staff in 2005. Since becoming Energy Engineer in 2007, Burger has taken the lead role in numerous projects, including upgrades and replacement of heating, ventilations and air condition (HVAC) systems on multiple campuses, modifying the operating strategy for the chiller plant, and securing utility rebates upwards of $400,000 by completing various energy projects and system upgrades.
"Whitney has developed a good rapport with all the maintenance technicians to help pinpoint building, mechanical and plumbing failures that can result in unnecessary spending," said Richard Crumley, chief of the Facilities & Engineering Service at the VA Maryland Health Care System. "Her internal and external customer service is unparalleled and we continually receive compliments and high reviews thanks to her dedication and commitment."
"I try to continuously monitor and analyze the heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems as well as building controls, water, and steam distribution to see how things are working and where we can reduce consumption, either by completing in-house maintenance and repair, implementing modified operating strategies, or investing in complete or partial system upgrades. It's looking at everything, including renovations and new construction to see what changes can improve efficiency," said Burger, who credits much of her success to some of the skilled maintenance technicians who work closely with her to monitor and report issues before they become problems and make repairs in a timely manner. She also develops timely repair plans and directs and implements changes in the health care system's HVAC systems.
"She routinely goes above and beyond her job duties by acting as the building automation system administrator and has taken complete responsibility for the digital control system that was implemented at the Baltimore VA Medical Center," said Crumley.
Burger earned her engineering degree from West Virginia University in 2004, graduating cum laude. She lives in Pennsylvania with her family.