For us, building smart is the only way to build. Today, more than ever, that means building efficiently and making buildings efficient for the long-term. Energy efficient lighting provides hospitals and healthcare facilities a high ROI and a simple way to save money now and in the future.
Because hospitals provide a unique array of operations, they have a unique array of lighting needs. They need to serve doctors, patients, administrators, families and many other stakeholders. As a result, it takes a broad spectrum of lighting solutions to properly illuminate all the functions a hospital provides. An effective, sustainable lighting plan can positively influence patient outcomes, increase the effectiveness of a hospital and save money on energy costs.
The scale of hospital energy use
As a large community center that provides 24-7 service, a hospital uses more energy than nearly any other type of commercial building. That makes energy a key component to a hospital’s healthy bottom line.
In 2007, the Energy Information Agency (EIA) conducted its Survey of Energy Characteristics and Energy Consumed in Large Hospital Buildings in the United States in 2007.
In its survey, the EIA found that the 3,040 large hospitals in the U.S. with 250 or more workers on the main shift consumed a total of 57 billion kWh. That’s billion with a B. The average large hospital consumed 18.7 million kWh at an average cost of $7.67 dollars per one hundred kWh.
According to the EIA’s 2003 Survey of Commercial Buildings, lighting accounts for as much as 43 percent of hospitals’ energy use. Lighting takes a lot of energy, and it comes to a lot of money. Just how much?
The potential ROI of sustainable hospital lighting
According to the EIA’s 2003 study, even a 10 percent reduction in energy costs can increase hospitals’ profit margin by 16 percent per year.
Why? Because technology has progressed at a rapid rate, and new energy-efficient systems cut energy costs. Many hospitals have already instituted energy-efficient changes and are enjoying some of these savings. But, even retrofitting that was initiated five or 10 years ago may already be obsolete.
Two simple places to start with energy efficiency
Your hospital can implement a massive number of energy-saving technologies because it uses such a wide variety of electronics, computing, medical devices, lighting systems and even redundancy systems. We recommend starting with two simple steps and building out from there.
First, if you’re not confident in your facility’s energy efficiency standards, have a professional service conduct an energy audit. This will identify all the ways your hospital can save money and provide you with an energy saving plan. Then, you can see evaluate the feasibility of the various aspects of that plan. With a concrete set of objectives in mind, you can confidently implement that plan and know your hospital is maximizing its energy saving potential.
Next, see if you can take advantage of any tax incentives for your investment in energy efficiency. Today, we have a favorable political and economic climate for energy-efficiency upgrades, and many states offer rebate programs and tax credits for energy efficient devices, buildings, appliances and lighting systems.
Lighting your hospital
As with all appliance and energy upgrades, when you’re implementing lighting system updates, you’ll have many options.
Think about your specific needs. If you have a wide variety of hospital areas with a wide variety of purposes, you’ll need a multitude of lighting solutions and a detailed lighting plan. If you’re looking to upgrade one particular area of your hospital, you might be able to skip ahead to researching specific lighting options.
Get up to speed on energy efficiency
Want to learn more about build-smart hospital lighting? The Korte Company special services division provides free assessments for a wide variety of special building projects. Our team provides insights on energy efficiency upgrades and has delivered LEED certified work for healthcare facilities throughout the country. If you’d like to see how to make your facility more efficient, click below.