Leaner Energy

A public health commitment

Energy conservation and renewable energy sources are some of the most impactful ways for health systems to improve air quality and reduce their environmental footprint, while enhancing operating efficiency.

Energy Star Logo

We’ve expanded our energy tracking and reporting within the EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to help us achieve our goal of reducing our weather-adjusted energy use intensity, and therefore greenhouse gas emissions. By the end of 2014, 22 UH properties used ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to track utilities at each site and report on progress toward our energy conservation goals.

Using this expanded utility tracking, we also participated in an effort through the Ohio Hospital Association to benchmark our facilities’ energy use and exchange best practices on energy conservation with hospitals across the state.

LED lighting retrofits and OR lighting

Efficient lighting system installations continue to sweep across UH campuses, led by UH Case Medical Center. Upgrades include transitions to fluorescent T8s and T5s, but the primary improvements have involved LED retrofits in both interior and exterior applications. These lighting systems are preferred not only for their energy efficiency but also because they are an improvement from a surgical performance perspective (e.g., improved temperature control for staff and patients, and more accurate lighting balance). At UH Case Medical Center, for instance, 20 of 42 operating rooms had been upgraded to LED lighting upgrades by the end of 2014; three more are currently in the process of being upgraded, and 13 more are pending approval.

Energy Audits

Basic energy audits were conducted at six medical centers throughout 2014 to determine the most impactful and immediate opportunities for energy and cost saving. Key components of the audits include highest-yield-energy-conservation measures as potential interventions, estimated implementation costs and annual savings, and simple payback periods. These audits will help us to focus efforts on reducing energy consumption as we strengthen our energy management programming.

Greener Energy Sources

In an effort to inject greener power into the energy portfolio of its member institutions, the Medical Center Company (MCCO) went live with a huge 1 MW solar farm near University Circle. MCCO has nine member institutions, including Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals, and delivers steam heat and chilled water to all of them. On peak days, the farm will provide 2 to 3 percent of the energy used by all institutions that the Medical Center Company serves.

Spotlight: Employee Energy Challenge

Jamie Walker, Patient Access Services, UH Medina Health Center

University Hospitals recognized the opportunity to change individual energy awareness and energy-saving habits in the workplace and engage employees in a fun and educational Employee Energy Challenge. This incentivized challenge was created to inspire employees to adopt energy-saving actions at home and at work and to be “energy aware.”

The results were impressive:
456 employees, engaged from a wide variety of disciplines/departments and position levels, pledged 2,071 energy-saving actions at work; 97 participants completed both phases and took 1,181 energy actions at work that they would continue beyond the challenge. Energy-saving actions included reducing printing, turning off lights when not in use, installing LED lights, posting energy education materials at work and more.

“I was looking into ways to cut my energy bills. I was able to identify some areas that we were losing money; a lot of small areas do add up. Turning the power strips off when I would leave the house saved an average of $30 a month – now it has become a habit.”
– Jamie Walker, Patient Access Services, UH Medina Health Center

10 Environmental Excellence awards

UH earned 10 Environmental Excellence awards from Practice Greenhealth, including the prestigious System for Change award. The awards recognize our health system’s achievements in environmental-sustainability programs and improvements during 2015.

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