Improving efficiency in hospitals

Healthcare facilities struggle to be energy efficient because they are constantly running at full strength, but new developments may change that.


Hospitals across the country are looking to increase energy efficiency, including changes to lighting, HVAC, and for some, on-site solar and wind power sources.

According to Environmental Leader , hospitals use more than two times as much energy as similar-sized commercial buildings because they are open 24/7 and have extra commitments on air filtration and circulation, air cooling, and waste management. Health care buildings rank second as energy hogs, trailing foodservice operations, which rank first in energy-intensive types of commercial buildings.

GE Healthcare has begun working on the creation of new hospitals, as well as improving existing facilities. In Hamburg, Germany, GE is assisting on the creation of Asklepios, known as the "green hospital." Scheduled for completion in 2013, Asklepios has a so-called 30-30-30 goal. That means increasing energy efficiency 30%, achieving a 30% reduction in energy consumption, and deriving 30% of energy from renewable sources.

In the United States, the leader for efficient hospitals is Gundersen Lutheran (GL) , which is located in La Crosse, Wis. In February 2008, the hospital set a goal to reduce energy consumption 20% by the end of 2009 and to be 100% renewable energy by 2014. As of earlier this year, GL had reduced energy consumption by 10%, which amounts to $409,000 in annualized savings, said Jerry Arndt, the hospital's senior vice president of business services.

Mislabeling spaces can lead to unnecessary spending. Know the codes to guide design and minimize costs. Read the Consulting-Specifying Engineer article on hospital data centers .

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