New Survey Shows that Hospitals Continue to Improve Their Energy Efficiency

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America’s hospitals and health systems are expanding their energy efficiency efforts, according to a survey recently conducted by Health Facilities Management magazine and the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE).

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Following the economic downturn, the 2011 Hospital Energy Management Survey shows facilities making progress, while additional opportunities remain.

America’s hospitals and health systems are expanding their energy efficiency efforts, according to a survey recently conducted by Health Facilities Management magazine and the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE). Following the economic downturn, the 2011 Hospital Energy Management Survey shows facilities making progress, while additional opportunities remain.

The nationwide survey of health care engineers and others charged with energy management responsibilities found that during the last two years:

  •     More than half have upgraded building control and automation systems (53 percent) in their facilities,
  •     Implemented occupancy sensors for lighting systems (51 percent),
  •     Fifty-five percent say they now select energy-efficient or ENERGY STAR-certified products during equipment or appliance replacement—double the percentage found in a similar survey conducted in 2006.

“As environmental stewards to their communities, hospitals are committed to smart energy use,” said Dale Woodin, CHFM, FASHE, and ASHE’s executive director. “In light of the recent economic downturn, we are encouraged to see hospitals and health systems able to allocate precious capital to improve energy efficiency.”

Responding hospitals are targeting both short-term and long-term solutions to improve energy efficiency with 88 percent of respondents implementing a preventive maintenance program. Another 25 percent of the respondents have implemented a strategic, master energy plan that covers five to 10 years or more into the future; and 35 percent say they plan to enact a master energy plan within the next two years. This effort involves commissioning of existing buildings or following the Green Guide for Health Care to monitor baseline energy performance.

Even with these significant efforts, hospitals have plenty of room to achieve additional savings, notes Delbert Reed, CHFM, SASHE, director of facilities engineering at Ben Taub General Hospital in Houston. “There’s a tremendous amount of savings that can be achieved beyond what we’re saving now,” says Reed, who sits on an energy management task force at ASHE that’s compiling strategies to share with members.

A small but growing number of health care facilities are supporting more innovative energy-management strategies, such as use of wind turbines or solar energy systems. Additional examples and a comprehensive analysis of the full survey data can be found in the July issue of HFM or online at http://www.hfmmagazine.com. The magazine teamed with ASHE for a similar study five years ago.

Health Facilities Management, a publication of the American Hospital Association’s Health Forum group, is the nation’s leading magazine for those passionate about designing, building and maintaining safe, efficient and sustainable health care environments.

Health Forum is a center for the exchange of credible information, insights and data to help hospital management and suppliers improve performance. We embrace innovation and knowledge where the leaders of hospitals, health systems and their suppliers are committed to improvement and trusted by their communities.

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Bob Kehoe
Health Facilities Management
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