Healthcare facilities face many challenges that are specific to this type of building since they have strict requirements for energy and clean water resources. According to ASHRAE, the average hospital uses 2.5 times the amount of energy compared to other commercial buildings. Energy efficient building technologies can help healthcare facilities face energy saving challenges. While cost-saving efficiencies represent a significant benefit, upgrading technologies can also improve the indoor environment of healthcare facilities, including air, power, and lighting quality that not only extend the lifecycle of the building but also significantly improve patient and staff satisfaction. Also, review the Commonwealth Fund’s 2018 North Carolina Scorecard of State Health Performance. Specific building types include:
- Institutional Group (I-2) Buildings
- Foster care facilities
- Nursing homes
- Animal hospitals (Business or Group B Buildings)
Energy Efficient Practices for Hospitals & Healthcare Facilities
- Set efficiency goals – consider hiring an Energy Manager or Professional
The money set aside for hiring an energy professional to manage the energy goals of your facility will easily cover the investment through energy savings. A 2015 survey revealed that less than half of health facilities in the United States have energy use targets that are monitored by a professional. Only 29% had a sustainability manager to oversee utilities and energy output – setting and monitoring annual energy goals and baselines can be beneficial for the lifetime of your facility.
- Search for “leaking” energy – conduct an Audit of your facility or pursue Commissioning
#EfficiencyFirst: Before investing in new machinery, have the medical equipment already on site audited for energy use. An auditor will analyze a variety of different areas of your building including past utility bills, current electrical equipment, energy management policies, lighting, IAQ, fuel sources, water management systems and more. With an audit or commissioning review, you can make small improvements to your facility that turn into large savings, such as energy efficient power strips that can stop drawing energy when the equipment is not in use.
- Research innovative & new technology equipment – Improving your building from the inside-out
Innovations in hospital design are taking place on four fronts: energy efficiency, building envelope design, interior design, and health and wellness. Analyzing and collaboratively managing patterns of infrastructure usage creates visibility for potential issues and strengthens engagement with all stakeholder groups in the facility. This information and technology can also be used to continuously tune building systems to facilitate the seamless interaction between services, enabling their logical connectivity and response to uniquely complex and critical building inputs that result from healthcare requirements.
- Waste management analysis – controlling Healthcare costs
Hospitals in the United States produce 6,600 tons of waste a day. 50 front-of-house trashcans at a busy hospital can produce 40,000 bags-to-the-dumpster a year. A study by the Commonweath Fund revealed that rethinking how you manage waste results in a five-year savings average of 40 cents per patient day. In terms of approaching waste reduction, a streamline waste disposal processes is needed to include recycling, reducing package and trash – such as paper, food refuse, and non-infectious garbage that is inadvertently mixed with medical waste.
- IAQ improvement measures – minimizing negative IAQ
As hospitals become more airtight, a consequence is deficient IAQ due to a buildup of internally generated contaminants. This is a serious threat to the health, productivity and wellbeing of all hospital occupants. The list of indoor pollutants that could be managed is extensive; controlling carbon dioxide levels, infective agents and VOCs—through construction, air intake design and thoughtful selection of furniture, finishes and cleaning products—are only a few of the ways we help educate members on how to minimize negative IAQ.
- Consider Renewable energy alternatives – reduce facility carbon footprint
A growing number of health systems are moving from fossil-fuel to green energy from renewable, non-polluting, non-carbon sources such as wind, solar and hydroelectric projects that have a low environmental impact. With the guidance and help of hiring a renewable energy consultant or firm, be prepared to consider the financial benefits of renewable energy purchases over a longer period of time than for conventional energy sources that have automatic returns.
Source: Schneider Electric
North Carolina Case Study
Carolinas HealthCare System Case Study – Davidson, NC
The Behavioral Health Center located in Davidson, NC by Carolinas HealthCare underwent a 78,555 sq. ft. BIM bid analysis, and, finding the utilization of BIM reduces changes driving construction and cost. Through this case study presentation, the main leaning objectives are understanding and explaining the Collaborate Bid Build (CB2) project delivery approach, understanding the value of a collaborative project delivery approach to a Building Owner, understanding the value of Building Information Modeling during design problem solving and team coordination, and finally identifiying the technology infrastructure needed for large scale project collaboration.
- New Construction Resource: Practice Greenhealth: Green Design & Construction
- Existing Hospitals Resource: Sustainability Roadmap for Hospitals
- Study Finds Hospital Environmental Sustainability Efforts Could Save Health Care Sector $15B over 10 Years
- Boston Children’s Hospital is saving more than a million dollars per year with energy-saving performance contracting
- 4 Ways for Efficiency in Healthcare Operations
- Energy-saving performance contracting is saving The Medical University of South Carolina over two million dollars annually
- Whole Building Design Guide for Hospitals
- Whole Building Design Guide for Nursing Homes
- Benchmarking Senior Care Facilities with ENERGY STAR’s New Energy Performance Scale