Sustainability Tip of the Month

Sustainability Tip of the Month

Sustainability Tip of the Month

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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