Greening UH at the Power Switch

Saving energy and improving systems to keep the hospitals operating well.

Helping people heal requires a lot of energy, not just from people but from our facilities. We are still early on in our journey toward optimal energy performance as a system, but 2016 can be marked as a year of significant progress in establishing a foundation to build upon for our system. In order to ensure that we are using energy responsibly to minimize energy-related pollution, we laid the groundwork for rolling out a systemwide energy management strategy. The plan identifies short and long term goals, key stakeholders that influence energy usage, energy conservation measures specific to facilities based on audits, reporting frameworks, tracking mechanisms, and required continuing education for key stakeholders.

An expanded partnership with service provider Sodexo within the Facilities and Construction service lines of UH included the hiring of a dedicated energy manager to serve the UH system. The energy manager has worked closely with the UH Office of Sustainability to establish a plan for rolling out the systemwide energy management strategy.

Energy Conservation Measures

In 2016 the UH Office of Sustainability and Energy Manager conducted a systemwide quantification of opportunity for lighting upgrades at all medical centers and some ambulatory locations within our system in order to determine approximate costs and energy savings opportunities through LED lighting upgrades. With a structured rollout of a systemwide retrofit, LED lighting provides energy savings, operational cost savings, and a “refreshed” and consistent look and feel for all UH locations. This quantification at each site was a coordinated effort over the course of the year that took the cooperation of facilities managers and others whose teamwork will allow UH to pursue a systemwide approach to LED retrofits.

Another opportunity for energy conservation is the implementation of computer power management software that forces computers on standby for near-zero energy use during off peak hours, a common energy-savings practice in hospitals and other large energy users nationwide. Re-evaluation the implementation of this software will occur in 2017.

Supply Side Energy Procurement

In addition to the demand side energy conservation strategies we pursued in 2016, the UH Office of Sustainability, Energy Manager, and a UH contract administrator extended our contract for natural gas and electricity at renegotiated, lower rates until the later part of 2017. At the end of 2017 we will evaluate and establish another competitive system agreement with the intention of sourcing from clean or renewable energy sources for a portion of our energy profile.

Energy Star Portfolio Manager

Our medical centers’ Energy Star profiles continued to be shared with both the Healthier Hospitals Leaner Energy Challenge and the Ohio Hospital Association’s Ohio Energy Cup in a collaborative regional effort to reduce energy use industry-wide. UH Cleveland Medical Center also remained a participant in the Cleveland 2030 District, an interdisciplinary public-private-nonprofit collaborative working to create a groundbreaking high performance building district in downtown Cleveland and University Circle. UH Cleveland Medical Center, as a result, has access to C2030D resources supporting energy efficiency, reporting through Energy Star Portfolio Manager, and positive public perception for supporting collaborative energy efficiency in the community.

We initially track all of our major locations’ utility data within our Key Green Solutions online sustainability dashboard, accessible by all facilities managers, that is then used to upload energy data into Energy Star Portfolio Manager. In 2016, smaller UH locations were added to the UH Energy Star profile, and will continue to be added in 2017 to complete our system Portfolio.

Employee Engagement

Employee Energy Challenge

Beginning in October 2016 and going through March 2017, the 2016-2017 Energy Challenge at University Hospitals asked employees to participate in a two phase program that promotes Energy Awareness month (October) and beyond. Phase 1 of the challenge was an educational quiz that focused on energy consumption at home and at work.

The quiz asked employees to keep track of electricity bills for a three month period in order to see a reduction in consumption and properly complete Phase II. The second phase of the challenge was a quick survey focusing on behavioral changes related to energy use for the three months following the quiz completion, and if employees noticed any decreases in home utility bills. By properly completing both phases of this challenge employees were automatically entered into a prize drawing for a Nest Home Learning Thermostat and energy efficient LED light bulbs. HealthyUH Engagement Points were provided to over 1,000 employees who participated in Phase I of the Energy Challenge in 2016.

Location Feature: UH Geauga Medical Center

Location feature: University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center

UH Geauga Medical Center converted almost 100 percent of its facility lighting with energy efficient LED lighting. Not only did this conversion result in immediate energy use reduction, but the new lighting has been regarded as a vast improvement in the visual appeal and functionality of the hospital space.

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