A study recently presented at the CleanMed Conference in Baltimore suggests that Hospital in the Pacific Northwest climate could cut back their energy intensity by up to 60% with little cost implications. This report shall be a tool for designers and owners for moving energy efficiency goals forward in project teams working in similar climate conditions. (via betterbricks blog):

“A groundbreaking new research effort reveals how hospitals, which account for four percent of all energy consumed in the U.S., can achieve a 60 percent reduction in energy utility use by redesigning the way they use energy. A newly constructed, code-compliant hospital in the Northwest following the process and employing strategies identified in the research can expect to save around $730,000 a year.  Savings in other areas can be higher where utility prices are higher. All sectors of the medical industry are tackling issues of sustainability as providers continue to be asked to do more with less and lighten their impact on the environment.  This work represents one of the latest contributions to the ongoing push to green America’s hospitals and build healthier communities. The most salient outcome of this work is the definition of a process that brings together architectural, mechanical and central plant systems to deliver significant efficiencies. These strategies include heat recovery, daylighting, and thermal energy storage, which when integrated at the very beginning, can reduce up to 60 percent of a new hospital’s energy use. This approach resulted in a full hospital prototype that has been modeled for energy use as well as cost of construction and can be implemented for less than three percent of the total project’s cost, an incremental cost that is expected to be recouped through energy savings and utility incentives within the first five-to-eight years of a building’s life depending on local utility costs.

The study was presented at the CleanMed Conference in Baltimore on May 11, 2010. To read an executive summary of Targeting 100! click HERE. For Energy in Healthcare Fact Sheet, click HERE.

The study, titled, “Targeting 100! Envisioning the high performance hospital: implications for a new, low energy, high performance prototype,” is the result of the close collaboration of the University of Washington’s Integrated Design Lab and NBBJ, one of the nation’s leading healthcare architectural firms. The study was primarily funded by the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) through its BetterBricks initiative, with significant in-kind time commitment by NBBJ and others on the research team including engineers, general contractors, utilities, hospital CEOs and facilities managers.

Previous research conducted by the UW’s IDL of Scandinavian hospitals showed that a hospital can achieve an Energy Use Index (EUI) of 100 and still provide patients and staff with an exceptional work and healing environment. An Energy Use Index, or EUI, is the total amount of energy used by a building (electricity and natural gas) per square foot of floor area, measured on an annual basis to establish baseline energy use.  The EUI value for a building is used in a similar manner as MPG is used to describe the efficiency of an automobile.

This study shows that hospitals in the U.S. can also aim for an EUI of 100 and achieve similar successful outcomes while fully complying with codes. To put this in perspective, the EUI of an average Northwest hospital is 270 KBtu/sq.ft.yr. (approx 850 kwh/m2/yr)”