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Hospital Energy Efficiency: Where to start

Health Facilities Management Magazine recently published an article called “’Good guys’ survey hospitals. Joint Commission views itself as an advocate” which interviewed George Mills, FASHE, CEM, CHIFM, CHSP.

What I found to be very interesting is a quote from Mr. Mills. When posed the question “What are some of the major engineering issues that hospitals need to focus on to retain accreditation?” he stated “I am concerned about infrastructure. Many hospitals are more than 50 years old and still have their original power plants. The life expectancy of the equipment is significantly less than 50 years but because of good facility management, many of these systems are still running. But at what cost? As a certified energy manager, I need to be concerned about the inefficiencies of older technology. “

Imagine using technology from 50 years ago whilealso trying to reduce your energy consumption. That’s like expecting a 1957 Chevy to get the same gas mileage (15 mpg by the way), as a 2013 Chevy Impala (30 mpg highway).  So what do you do if you have a hospital, or a outpatient clinic or an ambulatory care facility or medical office building that is old and you suspect that it isn’t energy efficient?  Where do you start?

Many of our healthcare customers are struggling with that same question. Reductions in revenues mean the need to reduce operating expenses.  That means the facilities department can do a lot to help the hospital reduce operating expenses by reducing their energy spend.

At Schneider Electric, as the Global Specialist in Energy Management, we help healthcare customers on a number of different fronts. We use a life-cycle approach to help customers utilize technologies that exist today to build and manage structures that are more efficient, productive and reliable.

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First helping them determine a strategy, then procuring energy in the most efficient manner, then measuring and monitoring energy so that customers can effectively understand how they use it in an effort to control it. Next employing all the infrastructure and efficiency upgrades that our products and services allow us to offer, then evaluating and measuring and reporting on those upgrades.

We know that it is unlikely that healthcare customers will be getting huge capital increases to fund these projects, so instead we systemically work at these improvements by concentrating on projects with a significant ROI, documenting those successes, so that the hospital can re-employ those savings in additional energy efficiency projects.

To get started, I would recommend that you and your staff take advantage of free classes on www.MyEnergyUniversity.com.  We have put together a program through the American Society for Healthcare Engineers (ASHE) that allows you to get CEU credits for coursework that you take. ASHE has created three learning paths, one for facility managers, one for energy managers and a third for facility technicians.


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