Sustainability Tip of the Month

Sustainability Tip of the Month

Sustainability Tip of the Month

Tip #4

Sustainability Engagement Benefits & Strategies
By Shannon Bunsen, Sustainability Project Manager for Mazzetti+GBA

In 2013 the European Environment Agency reported that up to 20 percent of energy savings can be achieved by targeting behavior change. Individuals make daily decisions that affect energy consumption; when you engage individuals, you empower them to be part of the solution.

And engagement matters. Gallup research from 2012 found that organizations that scored in the top half on employee engagement scored nearly double  in customer ratings, profitability, and productivity compared with those in the bottom half. Top-scoring organizations saw lower turnover and absenteeism, and fewer safety incidents and quality defects.

In 2017 the National Environmental Education Foundation conducted a study that found a positive relationship between sustainability engagement and employee engagement. They also found that sustainability engagement positively affects almost every dimension of traditional engagement, including alignment, pride, discretionary effort, and advocacy. Nearly 90 percent of employees that were engaged in their company’s sustainability efforts said that it enhances their job satisfaction.

When engaging employees in sustainability, it’s best to use a combination of methods. Passive approaches include designing spaces for sustainable behaviors and incorporating signage or “action triggers” to turn behavior into habits. Active strategies include educating occupants and enlisting them to participate on green teams. Written communications can raise awareness, but interpersonal communication can change behavior and add much more value for the employees involved.

Implementing a variety of strategies, and doing so thoughtfully, will lead to the wide-ranging benefits that sustainability engagement has to offer.

About the Author
Brent MorrisIn 2017, Shannon Bunsen joined Mazzetti+GBA, global provider of healthcare engineering and technology consulting, as sustainability project manager. She also leads The Sextant Foundation, a sustainable development non-profit that works in healthcare settings in the developing world. She offers more than 5 years of experience in sustainability program management. She was the University of Wisconsin Health’s first sustainability leader, a position she created. Shannon holds a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with continuing education certificates in process improvement and change management.

Have a tip you want to share? We’d love to hear from you. Contact Kara Brooks at kbrooks@aha.org.

 


 

Tip #3

Kitchen Ventilation
By Brent Morris, West Region Business Development Manager for Intelli-Hood at Melink Corporation

Kitchen ventilation, for both exhaust and makeup air, represents a significant opportunity for kWh and kBTU reductions in health care facilities. Demand control kitchen ventilation, or DCKV for short, uses both temperature and optic sensors to vary the speed of exhaust and makeup air fans in response to the precise cooking intensity underneath kitchen hoods. Running the fans only as fast as needed provides savings on fan energy (controls produce 40% to 60% average fan speed versus 100% without controls). In addition, heating and cooling savings are gained because the kitchen isn't evacuating all the expensive conditioned air.

These controls can be installed in new construction projects, specified by the engineering firm in the design phase of your project, and should qualify for one LEED point. In addition, DCKV is a path to compliance for commercial building energy codes for states that have adopted ASHRAE 90.1 2010 and later. You can see what your state's requirements are here.

Retrofitting the temperature and optic controls within existing kitchen exhaust hoods is equally effective at generating energy savings. At the outset of a project, confirm that the controls are UL 710 and 2017 listed, which permits them to be installed in any manufacturer's hood in any cooking application. Many utility rebate incentive programs are available for the installation of DCKV.

Ultimately the goal of any DCKV project is to maximize the energy savings within the kitchen. Controls will help in compliance with building energy codes, attain LEED points, and make the kitchen much quieter and more comfortable for staff. The fall 2017 Inside ASHE article The Financial Impact of Variable Speed Ventilation Controls in Hospital Kitchens provides further information on these topics and dives deeper into how controls pay back initial investment.

About the Author
Brent MorrisBrent Morris is the west region business development manager for Intelli-Hood at Melink Corporation. He partners with VPs, directors, and managers of facilities, engineering, and operations to assist them in achieving greater energy savings within their facilities. Some of the facilities he has helped include acute care hospitals, assisted living facilities, VA medical centers, and health care property management companies such as JLL and CBRE.

Brent is a member of the American Society for Healthcare Engineering and holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Hanover College.

Have a tip you want to share? We’d love to hear from you. Contact Kara Brooks at kbrooks@aha.org.

 


 

Tip #2

Translating the Cost of Energy Reduction
By Kara Brooks, LEED AP BD & C, ASHE Sustainability Program Manager

Health care facility professionals are often looking for ways to get the attention and support of the C-Suite for energy reducing strategies. Discussing energy savings on a square foot basis may not always get the attention desired. The EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager has broken down the data for facilities in Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager in a guide, “Energy Use in Hospitals,”which helps establish the results of a facility’s efforts toward energy reduction. This is a great guide for those who want to understand the implications of energy reduction through a variety of metrics—not just those based on square footage.   To illustrate how these other metrics can be used, let’s take a look at a per-bed metric for four sample health care facilities.

A per-bed metric examines the affect that energy has per bed, not per square foot. In its “Energy Use in Hospitals” guide, the EPA states that the median beds per square foot is around 0.5 beds/1,000 square feet. This number is important as it can be used to determine the cost of energy on a per bed basis.
 
Similarly, the EPA states that the median number of FTEs per square foot is 2.6 FTEs/1,000 square feet. Again, we can use this number to understand the effect of energy use as it relates to number of FTEs. From there we can further understand how improving a facility’s ENERGY STAR score can help establish a business case for saving energy. The following graph depicts each of these metrics as they are compared to ENERGY STAR scores for four sample healthcare facilities with an estimated median range of staffed beds between 110 and 190:

Energy Cost Per Staffed Bed and FTE

It’s easy to see that the cost of energy drops dramatically on both a staffed bed and FTE basis as the ENERGY STAR score rises.

Why is this important to the C-Suite? The data show that even small energy reductions can make a big difference. the hospital with the ENERGY STAR score of 2, the cost per bed is about $11,700 with a cost per FTE of around $3,000. For the hospital with an Energy Star Score of 10—a relatively modest improvement—the cost per bed is $8,050 with a cost per FTE of around $1,550.
 
By making small changes, facilities can re-allocate their resources, allowing for additional FTEs or projects that improve patient care. Communicating the benefits of energy efficiency in this way makes a complex concept easy to understand for those who manage beds or staffing.

 


 

Tip #1

Energy Management? Where do I Start?
By Kara Brooks, LEED AP BD & C, ASHE Sustainability Program Manager

While presenting ASHE’s Sustainability programs at the ASHE Region 8 conference, I was questioned about starting an energy management program with limited resources. I would venture to say that it begins with ENGAGEMENT. I’m referring to engagement of key stakeholders in the process. Key stakeholders include those affected by energy use within the health care facility: the energy manager, maintenance staff, hospital administrators and financial managers, local utilities, auditors, and consultants. Stakeholders gain a thorough understanding of the energy that is being used through benchmarking energy use in facilities. This benchmarking information can then be used to engage stakeholders in a commitment to sustainability and the establishment of an energy management program.
 
One tool for benchmarking health care facilities is Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager. Currently more than 5,000 health care facilities in the United States have benchmarked their facilities in Portfolio Manager, encompassing more than 85 percent of the health care market in terms of square footage. Of these 5,000 facilities, more than 2,500 have enrolled in ASHE’s Energy to Care program (which utilizes the energy data from Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager). Top performers are translating impressive results, however the numbers of facilities eligible for Energy Star Certification represent less than 10 percent of health care facilities across the United States. The numbers are telling of the availability of improvements that are available to the health care profession.
 
Resources are available to facilities to help with the process of benchmarking, and ASHE and your local chapters are excited to assist you. For more information, please contact AHSE’s Energy to Care help desk at energytocare@aha.org.

 

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