Leaner Energy

Our medical centers are each committed to the Healthier Hospitals Initiative Leaner Energy Challenge goal of reducing greenhouse gases by decreasing weather-adjusted energy intensity from metered energy use by 3 percent from our 2011 baseline. Energy efficiency remains a top priority for the system’s strategic sustainability efforts, and there are clear opportunities for major improvements in the arena that will result in both cost and environmental impact reduction.

Energy Star

Energy StarIn 2013, UH registered all major medical centers for the EPA ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to track energy intensity and greenhouse gas emissions in alignment with the Leaner Energy Challenge. The system’s new sustainable building policy established in 2013 also requires the use of ENERGY STAR for new building projects and the purchase of energy-efficient appliances.

Energy Use Intensity (EUI)

UH has committed to reducing the Energy Use Intensity (EUI) of each medical center by at least 3 percent by the end of 2015. The EUI is a measure of energy use per square foot per year (or rolling 12 months). Historically, it has been challenging in our system to centrally gather energy data for all of our facilities. To help resolve this issue, we have created a systematic and easily accessible energy dashboard for our system. The results of this effort have helped us to prioritize our energy efficiency goals and share best practices by comparing our facilities’ performance according to this standardized metric.


UH medical centers saved over 5 million kWh in 2013 compared to a 2011 baseline, with associated savings in avoided expenses, with the bulk of that savings coming from efforts at the largest campus, University Hospitals Case Medical Center.

Examples of energy conservation measures that have been implemented across the system include:

  • Installation of efficient lighting systems including fluorescent T8 and T5 retrofits, and LED retrofits
  • Inspecting and repairing steam systems
  • Decommissioning of inefficient chillers
  • Installation of advanced and renewable energy technologies
  • Installation of variable frequency drives (VFDs) on HVAC motors
  • Utilization of utility tracking software
  • Adopting an Energy Management Program detailed in our 2013 Energy Management Plan
  • Development and approval of our sustainable building design, construction, operations and maintenance policy

UH Case Medical Center Electricity Consumption

Systemwide Energy Management Plan

The Energy Management Plan (EMP) is a document produced to guide UH in identifying and implementing energy conservation measures. Energy conservation measures will reduce UH’s energy demand and utility costs. During monthly systemwide facilities meetings, a comprehensive monthly “energy brief” is reviewed, which highlights progress and opportunities at each UH location.

Annual Healthcare Energy and Technology (HEAT) Report

This annual report on the state of the system’s energy efforts will be released to our internal stakeholders as a supplement to this systemwide Progress Report on Sustainability.

Internal Energy Audits

Internal energy audits were performed at several of the UH medical centers in 2013. Audits for the rest of the medical centers are scheduled for completion during Q1 of 2014. They will identify potential energy conservation measures, estimated implementation costs and simple payback calculations. These audits can help focus efforts on reducing energy consumption.

Computer Power Management Program

Configuring computers to enter power-saving mode when not in use can reduce our energy demand and utility costs. To accomplish this, it is necessary to install software that allows the computers to enter power-saving mode but still allow IT professionals access to the computers for critical software updates. In 2013, plans for a computer pilot study at University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center were developed with the intention of ultimately installing the software on approximately 10,000 computers across the UH system. The pilot program at UH Geauga Medical Center continues into 2014.

Energy Efficiency Revolving Fund

In 2012, an energy efficiency fund was set up in partnership with the Medical Center Company, which serves University Circle (Cleveland neighborhood) institutions. This includes UH Case Medical Center, and it has been in place over the course of 2013. A revolving energy efficiency fund provides capital for implementing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that generate cost savings. The savings are then tracked and used to replenish the fund for the next round of projects, creating a funding cycle while cutting operating costs and reducing environmental impact. A similar strategic approach to energy conservation measures at UH community hospitals and ambulatory locations will be piloted in the coming year. Examples of areas of opportunities include occupancy sensors, HVAC recommissioning, interior LED light retrofits, parking lot LED retrofits, and the computer power management software being piloted currently at UH Geauga Medical Center.

We have partnered in our energy initiatives with Evergreen Energy Solutions, which was born out of the Evergreen Cooperatives with the goal of creating jobs and employee-ownership opportunities in Cleveland neighborhoods.

15 Environmental Excellence awards

UH received 15 Environmental Excellence awards from Practice Greenhealth, including the prestigious System for Change award, for our systemwide achievements in sustainability in 2013.