Greener hospitals? Updated Energy Star spec targets healthcare

Online management tool now includes new benchmark data and best practices guidelines for improved energy efficiency.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

Perhaps I noticed this because my local hospital was forced to operate for several days on its generators last week -- the second time it has been forced to do so in the last two months.

In any event, the U.S. Environmental Protect Agency has released new guidelines and Energy Star tools specifically intended to help hospitals better manage and reduce their collective $7.4 billion annual spend on electricity.

The Energy Star Portfolio Manager has been updated so that hospital managers can benchmark their energy consumption against this tool and make adjustments to improve efficiency. The EPA figures that approximately 85 percent of acute care providers are using the tool, so the update should have a substantial impact. The tool includes new best practices and data from the American Society for Healthcare Engineering. That data includes factors such as how many magnetic resonance imaging machines a facility uses and weather normalization information. The tool also removes the previous cap on hospital size, so facilities with more than 5 million square feet of space should now be able to use the tool.

The EPA figures that if all the hospitals in the United States improved their energy efficiency by 10 percent, the industry could save 7.3 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity and about $740 million in annual power costs.

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