Healthcare energy costs are rising. In fact, an average 200,000-square foot hospital with 50 beds in the U.S. spends $680,000 annually on energy.
Fortunately, there are a number of quick, low-cost efficiency measures hospital energy managers can take to lower electrical costs.
Lighting: Lighting accounts for 43 percent of the typical healthcare facility’s electrical consumption, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Consider these quick fixes to reduce lighting costs in your facility:
- Remind people to turn off the lights with stickers above switches. Your patients don’t pay the bills, and it’s easy to forget these simple steps. A quick reminder could help.
- "De-lamp" where lighting is excessive. Keep those bulbs as replacements when other needed lighting burns out.
For longer-term solutions, consider:
- Replacing lamps with high-efficiency fluorescents and compact fluorescent lights. Do this wherever possible.
- Installing automatic controls. These include timers, photo sensors, occupancy sensors and dimmers throughout the hospital and at staff desks to accommodate a-typical employee schedules. For hallways, use a combination of dimmers, occupancy sensors and scheduled lighting.
HVAC – Operation and Maintenance: EIA data shows that heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) accounts for 33 percent of the average hospital’s electrical use.
Consider these simple, low-cost ways to help lower HVAC-related costs:
- Perform regularly scheduled maintenance to save energy and extend equipment life.
- Create a maintenance plan, including regular tasks like inspections, calibration, cleaning and component replacement.
- Keep information on set-points and operating schedules available for maintenance workers.
- Sequence chillers on and off. This helps avoid running too many chillers at once and keep chillers operating at peak efficiency – typically higher than the 30 to 50 percent loading mark.
- Operate multiple cooling towers, saving fan power. Because most chilled-water plants operate with excess capacity, some are typically turned off during low-load periods. To optimize existing cooling towers, run condenser water over towers – often and at the lowest fan speed possible.
- Consider occupancy sensors for operating-room air handlers. Operating rooms often have air handlers that draw 100 percent of their supply from outdoor air, which then requires heating or cooling. If you install occupancy sensors, you can reduce load on these air handlers when rooms aren’t being used.
The kitchen: Hospital cafeterias work hard to keep up with patients and their families. Fortunately, there are simple ways to reduce energy consumption.
For simple, no-cost ways to improve efficiency:
- Run ovens only when needed. Pre-heat 15 minutes prior to use.
- Operate fan hoods only when cooking. This will also lessen the strain on your HVAC.
For longer-term solutions, consider:
- Installing ENERGY STAR® equipment for new purchases. ENERGY STAR qualifies commercial food-service equipment. Energy-efficient options now exist for dishwashers, hot food cabinets, ice machines, refrigerators, freezers, steam cookers, griddles and more.
For additional energy-saving tips from FPL, please visit www.FPL.com/mybusiness.
Schedule a Free Energy Evaluation with FPL: Want something more tailored to your hospital or healthcare facility? Consider signing up for FPL’s free Business Energy Evaluation to get a customized, cost-effective plan that is specific to you. We offer two types of surveys -- the Online Business Energy Evaluation (OBEE) and the On-site Business Energy Evaluation (BEE).