Low/No Cost Measures
Hospitals can immediately implement these low/no cost ECMs
- Turn it off or back when not needed. Make regular night-time surveys into all areas and communicate problems. It can be surprising just how much lighting is left on. Computer monitors are frequently left ON and screen savers are often active. Consider leaving a “calling card” with suggestions on how occupants can save energy.
- Office equipment – big facilities make unnecessarily expensive policy and purchasing decisions because they do not evaluate the total costs of ownership of computers, office equipment and refrigerators.
- Screw-in incandescent lamps can be replaced with LEDs or compact fluorescent. It is most cost effective to replace working incandescent lamps and get rid of the existing incandescent stock. You’ll save energy and maintenance. The payback can range from 3 to 9 months.
- Older model air filters can be replaced with modern ones that have greater dirt holding capacity. They can offer less average resistance to airflow and can be changed out at a lower pressure drop while lasting longer between replacements. The payback will be less than a year. Typically $100+ per bed can be saved each year by optimizing air filter selections.
- HVAC control adjustments – variable speed fans/pumps and economizers are seldom optimally operated. Temperature setpoints can be dynamically reset based on prevailing needs. Ventilation dampers may be out of adjustment or stuck in place. Simply changing operating sequences and repairing system problems might have less than a 6 month payback.
- HVAC leaks/flow problems – defective valves, 3-way valves, leaking ductwork, twisted flexible ductwork and damper problems can waste energy and compromise the capacity to heat, cool and properly ventilate a facility. The payback can be less than a day.
- Steam sterilizers can be equipped with “economizers” that substantially reduce steam consumption and can payback in 3 months or so.
- Compressors and vacuum producers can be major water consumers. Replacement with equipment that does not use city water can be very cost effective in some locations.
- Enhanced operation, maintenance and purchasing program EOMP. EOMP directs the Facilities Department to lower the total costs of ownership rather than focusing on minimizing purchase costs. EOMP can result in:
- Energy savings from 5 to 15 percent with no capital outlay
- Reclaiming lost capacity
- Empowering staff
- Reducing work orders
- Improving the Environment of Care
Caveat - bundle energy conserving measures (ECM)
The above ECM recommendations are low/no cost while other ECMs require substantial capital investment or a financing mechanism. A hospital can immediately implement these low/no cost ECMs but it may be more financially practical to “bundle” low/no cost ECMs with longer payback ECMs into one or more large projects that meet the corporate investment criteria.