Understanding Energy Efficiency in Hospitals

As per a report of the U.S. Department of Energy, the healthcare sector is said to be one of the largest consumers of energy. The hospital owners, too, keep a check on the amount of money spent on electricity costs with a motive to improve energy efficiency and manage the costs. In addition to the direct financial savings, improving existing lighting helps in uplifting the overall hospital environment. The money saved from reduced energy is a resource that can be diverted back into the institution for investments in improving patient care or updating other areas of the campus or facilities.

Simply stating, the facilities provided in hospitals and healthcare organisations like lighting, heating or air conditioning, security systems, monitoring, elevators, cleaning and sterilization, and operating rooms consume energy 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Ways to Improve the Energy Efficiency of Hospitals:

Some basic improvements in this field can reduce energy costs, benefiting economic and environmental management. There are three groups of measures that can be implemented to achieve efficient energy management in hospitals, such as:
Simple measures, that do not require special financing or capital investment.

  • Controlling the opening and closing of windows, doors between spaces having different temperatures
  • Periodic revision and maintenance of the boiler and air conditioning system, including the restoration of leaks of a cooling liquid
  • A pause of hot water circulation in periods at times of no usage
  • Installation of low consumption light, wherever possible
  • Using electronic energy-saving equipment Low-cost measures, that concern actions and can be financed by the administrator
  • Replacing conventional metal doors and windows that have considerable heat bridges with others made up of sustainable materials.
  • Upgrading heating insulation surfaces of boilers.
  • Clean condenser pipes in water-cooled systems.
  • Optimising redesign of the ventilation pipe system.
  • Minimising of exterior lighting and use of timers. Reconstruction actions, that require a capital investment
  • Thermal insulation of exterior walls, roof, floors, pilotis.
  • Installation of a separate boiler for covering the needs during summer.
  • Production of cold water in coolers of air conditioning through solar energy or biomass.
  • Replacing common manual faucets with faucets controlled by a photocell.
  • Heat recovery from the condensates with heat exchanger.
  • Systems for improvement of the quality of the power supplied, both current and voltage.

In a nutshell, taking care of energy efficiency in healthcare organisations has become a prerequisite. CAHO, an eminent body regulating the healthcare organisations, offers various webinars and workshops on such issues. Not only this, they provide various training programmes like nursing training programmes, hospital training programmes, training sessions that confer the communication skills of healthcare professionals. Taking up training from them would be a boon for the healthcare providers.

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