Retrofit guidelines help hospitals cut energy costs

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With U.S. healthcare facilities spending about $8.8 billion a year on energy, hospitals are implementing the U.S. Department of Energy's "Advanced Energy Retrofit Guide for Healthcare Facilities," which is yielding major savings during a time when many hospitals face budget constraints, GreenBiz.com reported.

Hospitals can save more than 30 percent of their annual energy costs by implementing the guidelines listed in the retrofit, according to the guide, as well as improve equipment longevity, decrease patient recovery times and create a more attractive brand.

Greenwich (Conn.) Hospital scored only 47 out of 100 on the Energy Star rating schedule, but nearly doubled its score to 88 after implementing the retrofit guidelines, saving more than $303,000 in electricity costs the next year and reducing its overall energy consumption by 35 percent, according to GreenBiz.com.

Savings can be attained through two steps, according to the guidelines:

  • Fix what isn't working correctly. Develop an understanding of the building's system and operations, such as lighting, plug loads, space heating and cooling, ventilation and water heating, followed by targeted upgrades to utilize those systems to their full potential.

  • Upgrade multiple systems. It might take more of an initial financial investment, but can yield more effective energy and cost savings when implemented to coincide with each other, creating up to a 21 percent reduction in energy costs. For example, changing the lighting system could add to a reduced cooling load for a new HVAC system.

Energy savings and going green are popular initiatives in the healthcare industry now. A 2012 Commonwealth Fund report found if healthcare organizations adopted sustainability practices, industry savings could total $5.4 billion over five years and more than $15 billion in 10 years, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- here's the retrofit guide
- read the GreenBiz.com article

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