Between a blackout at home or in the hospital, which of the two do you think has it worse?
Yet, medical facilities are finding it more difficult to cope with rising energy costs and—with it—making sure their lifesaving equipment works in an emergency. They cater to the needs of thousands of sick and injured patients round-the-clock, so their plight is fathomable. In addition, with so many Americans suffering from heart and neuro diseases, hardly a day goes by without firing up the MRI or CT scanner.
Needless to say, hospitals—like any other building in the city—can cut their energy consumption by as much as six digits. This was the case for Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, FL, which managed to cut its annual energy bill by more than $300,000 with the use of data science. The facility focused its cost-cutting plan on its HVAC system.
Manny Rosendo, CEO of an HVAC analytics firm, writes:
"In a typical hospital, the biggest consumer of electrical power is the HVAC system, accounting for as much as 42% of total usage. The HVAC system and chiller plant alone can push a hospital’s electric bills close to over a million dollars a year."
If this is true for your facility, then there's no reason to hold back on energy-saving measures big and small. Rosendo offers some helpful cost-cutting tips, some of which may break known conventions.
Use a Different Unit
The British thermal unit (Btu) is the most widely-used unit for measuring heating and cooling capacity for HVAC in Shreveport and elsewhere. However, Rosendo says the Btu doesn't always tell the whole story. Instead, he suggests measuring capacity by kilowatt per ton. He writes:
"Many management teams look at British Thermal Units (BTUs)/sf, or the amount of BTUs required to heat a space per square foot, as a key metric. However, we have found that if the system is not operating at peak efficiency, this metric fails to provide enough detail to help determine the problems."
Rosendo also suggests against waiting for yearly commissioning to review the facility's consumption. If a problem appears, act on it as soon as possible. Keep close tabs on the health of the HVAC system, especially during extreme weather. Studies also show that constant commissioning can keep consumption at a relatively stable pace even after five years of operation.
Constantly checking your HVAC system for issues can help avoid unnecessary increases in energy consumption. Regular check-ups by professional Shreveport, LA HVAC services, like AccuTemp Cooling and Heating, are highly recommended for more thorough results. If there are quick fixes or major repairs that need to be done, you can rely on these HVAC services as well.
(Source: Hospital Energy Managers: Six Steps For Major Energy Savings Via HVAC & Central Plant Peak Performance, CleanTechnica, March 10, 2014)