Building managers are increasingly turning to energy efficiency to cut fixed costs at healthcare facilities across the country. Recent studies show that the return on investment (ROI) from energy efficient technology, HVAC systems and lighting drives many in the industry to go green because those investments ultimately save them money.
For most facilities, energy is the largest but most controllable fixed cost. Therefore, it’s no surprise hospital facilities managers want to get a better handle on energy costs. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimated 5.5 percent of the total delivered energy was consumed by large hospitals in 2007.
Moreover, American hospitals consume more than 27 kilowatt hours of electricity and 110 cubic feet of natural gas per square foot, according to a report by Madison (Wis.) Gas and Electric. Hot water, heating and lighting account for some 72 percent of an average hospital’s total energy usage, according to the EIA. Considering healthcare facilities never close, that’s no surprise.
A 2012 Commonwealth Fund report found hospitals that environmental footprint savings can be very achievable and profitable.
If all hospitals took steps to rein in energy costs as those facilities in the Commonwealth Fund report did, the savings could exceed $5.4 billion over five years and $15 billion over a decade while reducing toxic chemicals and waste production.
To look at the numbers another way, every dollar a non-profit healthcare organization saves on energy costs is like generating $20 in new revenues for hospitals, according to the EPA.
Some strategies facilities managers can use at their healthcare facilities to lower energy costs — both big and small — based on the experts and various reports and studies:
- Health facility commissioning isn’t cheap, but the upside for hospitals can be a greater ROI for HVAC systems and lighting systems.
- Participating in programs like the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineer’s (ASHRAE) Building Energy Quotient plan can be helpful.
- Implementing the best peak performance strategies and technologies, like advanced analytics, optimization procedures and integrated infrastructures, can trim HVAC and central plant energy usage by as much as 40 percent.
- Simple improvements – utility rate reviews, variable speed drives and building optimization – can save up to 10 percent on hospital energy costs.
For more help with saving energy at your healthcare facility, contact Vanguard Resources.