Ohio State University Hospital East a Star for Energy Efficiency

Hospitals in America are some of the world’s biggest energy consumers, and understandably so, as they are required to run for 24 hours and occupy hundreds of employees, patients and visitors every day. Additionally, hospital standards call for sophisticated heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to maintain temperature and airflow. Today, hospitals have more opportunities to reduce their energy consumption without compromising patient safety. In November, Ohio State University Hospital East received an Energy Star certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), demonstrating that it is a leader among hospitals in energy efficiency.

The Energy Star certification demonstrates that University Hospital East performs in the top 25 percent of health care facilities nationwide, while also meeting strict energy efficiency performance levels set by the EPA. Other facility categories that can earn the EPA Energy Star certification include offices, banks, retails stores, hotels, and k-12 schools.

A building that scores a 75 or higher on the EPA’s 1 – 100 scale is eligible for Energy Star certification. University Hospital East’s score has well surpassed the 75 minimum, but not without hard work.

According to Terry Scott, president of the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) in HMA Magazine, “Reducing energy use requires planning, persistence, ongoing benchmarking and staff buy-in – from the C-suite to maintenance and housekeeping personnel. It’s not difficult to do, but it requires commitment and effort,” he says.

University Hospital East’s initiatives to greater energy efficiency stem from University Hospital East teaming with American Electric Power (AEP) and the Ohio Hospital Association programs aimed at energy reduction. Steps taken by University Hospital East to achieve the Energy Star certification include:

  1. Replacing single-paned windows for triple-paned in patient rooms
  2. Transitioning from fluorescent lighting to LEDs
  3. Switching electric motors with energy efficient motors that last longer and use less energy
  4. Increasing use of Building Automation Systems to include changing temperature ranges in areas that are not always in use, such as operating rooms, without disruption of services
  5. Implementing cost-effective run times for boilers and chillers

According to the EPA’s Energy Star office, hospitals around the country can save money, help prevent greenhouse gas emissions, improve the air quality of their communities, and support their commitment to public health by being more energy efficient.

Jack Boyles, University Hospital East Facilities Director, says it was a team effort and he is proud of his staff. “Through this achievement, we have demonstrated our commitment to environmental stewardship while also lowering our energy costs.”

Through the partnerships with the Ohio Hospital Association and AEP, University Hospital East’s savings are approximately $50,000 annually as a result of the energy reduction initiatives.

University Hospital East’s Energy Star certification is not the end, but rather just the beginning, according to Boyles. He says University Hospital East plans to continue to reduce carbon footprints and energy costs for each project the hospital puts in place.

The Ohio Hospital Association offers an energy award through a program that University Hospital East plans to pursue next once the hospital reaches its energy reduction goal of 40%. Currently, University Hospital East has reduced their energy consumption by 25% after initiating plans two years ago that led to the Energy Star certification.

“It’s a collaborative effort between all of us (Ohio Hospital Association members). It’s not a competition. It’s a ‘look at what we did’ in order to help everyone in the long run.”

Written by Natalie Michalski, Communications Assistant in the Office of Energy and Environment