6 Great Ways to Improve Energy Efficiency in Healthcare Facilities
Going green has been an important goal for many industries in recent years, including efficient energy use. The healthcare domain is one field slowly transitioning to sustainable options to conserve energy. The chief benefits of this shift are cost-effectiveness and environmental-friendliness.
Since many healthcare facilities operate 24 hours a day, and use electric-powered medical equipment, the total energy consumption is always high. Fortunately, there are methods to reduce energy use in your facility and help the environment while operating as usual.
1. Do an Energy Audit
There’s a business maxim that says you can’t improve what you can’t measure. The first step to promote energy efficiency is measuring your current energy use. Do a comprehensive audit and sweep through every electricity-powered tool to determine how much energy each one consumes.
Review the numbers. You might detect malfunctioning equipment in need of repairs. An energy audit will show you the amenable gaps in power use.
2. Set Energy-Saving Goals
Once you’ve got the figures, the next step is goal setting. Using your data, identify which tools consume the most power and why. Perhaps the air conditioning system in one room is constantly on, even if the room is only used for a few hours a day. Frivolous energy use is a common sight in commercial buildings and that’s why those spaces account for 17% of the total energy consumption in the U.S.
Check your numbers and find loopholes where you can cut down power for an hour or more without compromising your operations.
3. Integrate Smart Building Systems
Homes are not the only place where innovative technology is useful. It can also support energy efficiency in healthcare facilities. Leveraging sensor technology, such as ambient and location sensors, are practical solutions to detect temperatures, lights, heat, noise and motion in a particular area. They can act as an intelligent system and power on or off equipment, such as lighting and air conditioning, only when necessary.
Along with sensors, these tools also have timing functions, automatic temperature control and other IoT features to conserve energy. This way, even if you forget to turn the lights or air conditioning off after leaving the room, smart technology can take over your HVAC systems and do what’s right.
4. Retrofit Current Systems
Upgrading to new systems requires an investment. If this isn’t immediately possible, retrofitting current systems is a viable option to gradually shift to an energy-efficient facility. For example, green tiles, like ceramic, are a natural insulator used to slow the rate of temperature change in any space.
Fitting windows with CO2 demand-controlled ventilation (DCV) sensors and using sustainable roofing methods, like green roofs, can improve indoor facility temperature and air quality, as well as reduce the use of energy-consuming ventilators.
5. Upgrade Lighting Systems
Replace lighting with LED and CFL light bulbs to help you save energy. A hospital in California saved 29,000 kilowatt-hours per year of power by switching to smart, energy-efficient lighting. The upgrade reduced 66% of outdoor lighting energy use. It’s worth considering if you could benefit from enormous energy savings.
6. Swap Equipment for Energy-Efficient Models
Old model equipment often demands more power to operate. Swap old equipment out for newer models, which have energy-efficient features and are environmentally friendly. This type of equipment is also more convenient to use.
For example, you can replace old washing machines in the laundry rooms of your facility with the latest power-saving models. You’ll promote environmental responsibility, use less energy and save on utility bills.
Healthcare Facilities Must Spearhead Energy Efficiency Efforts
The healthcare industry consumes significant energy due to round-the-clock operations and use of heavy ventilation equipment. However, more facilities are transitioning to green methods to conserve power and help the environment. Health care organizations in the U.S. continue to lead energy efficiency efforts and it won’t be long before this ripples to global change.