Hospitals are one of the largest consumers of energy of any type of commercial building. When you consider this fact in conjunction with rising costs and shrinking reimbursements, the ability to reduce energy consumption is an important way for hospitals and healthcare facilities to realize financial savings.
In fact, according to a 2013 U.S. Department of Energy study, hospitals have an enormous opportunity for energy savings, which can be as much as 10 to 32 percent.
Let's take a look at three ways hospitals can save energy:
Lighting is one of the biggest consumers of energy in a hospital, and in U.S. commercial buildings, it accounts for close to 35 percent of all energy consumption.
Replacing or retrofitting the lighting system can result in large cost savings. These changes can include energy-saving light bulbs or fixtures, dimming capabilities, automatic controls, occupancy sensors and timers, and they can all have an important impact.
Hospital air must be properly circulated and conditioned for obvious reasons, but patient safety and ambient comfort comes at a cost.
Heating and cooling systems can be stressed in hospitals, especially in certain climates that offer extreme conditions. Ventilating unwanted air and conditioning make up air is expensive, so HVAC upgrades can often be a great way to save. The first step, though, is to make sure that data is actually being collected before considering equipment upgrades that can result in savings.
Of all the rooms and facilities within a hospital or healthcare facility, the kitchen or foodservice division might consume the most energy. Again, HVAC and lighting are both important aspects, but energy efficient equipment is also critical.
By using refrigeration systems that can lower the number of compressors required, and the amount of refrigerant and piping, it can have an enormous impact on energy expenditure in a commercial kitchen. In fact, energy savings can be reduced by nearly half.