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Large Hospitals Increase Energy Consumption

November 2, 2012

It is not shocking that hospitals consume a lot of energy; they are run in such a way that high energy consumption is required for the best medical care. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA’s) Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) reported this past August that the percentage of delivered energy used in the commercial sector by large hospitals (defined as being greater than 200,000 square feet) increased from 4.3 percent in 2003 to 5.5 percent in 2007, which is a consumption of the major fuels of electricity, natural gas, and fuel oil of 458 trillion Btu.

It does not come as a surprise that these hospitals have energy conservation plans in place to save energy. Almost 100 percent of large hospitals had regular maintenance and scheduled repair for their heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. About 93 percent used one or more day-lighting or lighting conservation features, including: tinted window glass (80 percent), skylights or atriums providing light (57 percent), external overhangs or awnings (47 percent), occupancy sensors that reduce light for unoccupied rooms (46 percent), reflective window glass (39 percent), and automatic sensors that reduce lighting in response to the level of natural light (14 percent). Additionally, about 90 percent used compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL), and 40 percent of them used light-emitting diode lights to light a portion of the floor space in the large hospitals. 88 percent of the hospitals had all or some had multi-layered glass windows and 76 percent used an economizer cycle, which pulls in outside air for cooling.

It’s imperative that large hospitals maintain this dedication to energy management and conservation and even increase their efforts where they can, especially because with improved medical care large hospitals may use more than the 458 trillion Btu mark that the CBECS reported.