Healthcare News & Insights

‘Green’ facilities: Earth-friendly and cash-flush

Reducing energy in a facility that literally has to function full-bore, 24/7 isn’t easy. But some health care facilities are finding their efforts to go green bear a lot of fruit.

Not every solution is right for every facility, of course — and budgets may be too tight now to have room for the additional up-front expenditures many initiatives require.

But if construction or renovation is in your facility’s 10-year plan, it’s worth looking at “green construction” trends. Long-term, greener facilities save money on reduced energy use.

They also gain a significant benefit by being able to position themselves as eco-friendly. All other things being equal, consumers generally prefer to patronize companies and organizations that are actively trying to reduce their environmental impact. That’s especially true in health care, where the green message resonates with the mission of improved health.

Where to start

High on the wish list for most health care facilities are more energy efficient lighting systems that automatically dim when an area is lit by daylight or when there are no people in the room. Lighting makes up a huge chunk of facilities’ energy use, so even partial measures to improve energy efficiency can quickly pay for themselves.

Heating, cooling and ventilation are other major energy drains, making the investment in high-efficiency HVAC systems, including those that “reclaim” heat that would otherwise be vented uselessly (such as heat coming off machinery or testing equipment). Retrofitting an HVAC system can be a more expensive — and intensive — project, but a well-planned system pays for itself in a relatively short time.

How far has your organization gone to be more energy-efficient? Tell us what is — or isn’t — working for you in the comments.

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