According to Health Facilities Management, the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) has launched the Energy Efficiency Commitment Initiative to complement the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR program by recognizing energy efficiency at hospitals across the United States and encouraging those hospitals to share their strategies. The program recognizes hospitals that lower energy usage by 10 percent or more and provides the tools necessary to track and compare progress with other medical centers. Participants need just enter their data into the EPA’s portfolio manager, which integrates data on energy usage and regional weather to produce an overall energy-performance ranking.

Among those already earning recognition from ASHE under the program is William McCully, director of plant operations and maintenance at the Northwest Medical Center of Washington County in Springdale, Ark., which has reduced energy consumption by 13 percent. One way the medical center achieved this was through the installation of a flat-plate heat exchanger that allows personnel to turn off the HVAC chillers when necessary. Such small-scale changes are key to hospitals coping with budgetary constraints that are forced to maximize the performance of their current equipment rather than purchase new technology.

“With all the competition for the healthcare dollar these days, it’s really difficult to find the capital it would take to do some of the things that would help energy wise,” McCully said. ASHE hopes to use the program as a springboard for cooperation and communication among hospitals.            EC

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