Large hospitals account for just one percent of all commercial buildings, and yet they consume almost five percent of all of the energy used by the commercial sector. Due in part to sophisticated HVAC and refrigeration systems, large laundry facilities and food service departments, as well as the fact that they operate around the clock, hospitals use enormous amounts of energy to the tune of $8.8 billion annually in the U.S. alone.
While most hospitals work hard to manage their energy use through regular scheduled HVAC maintenance and lighting conservation features, many still use inefficient incandescent and fluorescent lighting. In fact, only 40 percent of hospitals employ the use of highly efficient LED bulbs, which can cut the cost of lighting in half. And since lighting accounts for the largest portion of electricity use at 43 percent of the total annual electric bill, that's a lot of savings.
And that's just lighting. Heating and cooling account for about 50 percent of a hospital's annual natural gas consumption, and heating water accounts for about 35 percent of the annual gas bill. While all of the energy consuming systems in the hospital operate independently, each relies on the efficiency of the others to work properly and at the least possible expense.
Star Energy Solutions is highly experienced in bringing hospitals up to date with new technologies and simple energy solutions that can reduce annual utility bills by up to 35 percent. In a typical large hospital, this represents a savings of nearly $250,000 annually.
Our comprehensive audit of a hospital's energy use helps us identify areas for improvement to increase the bottom line and reduce harmful carbon emissions. The audit includes a thorough inspection of all energy-consuming equipment like HVAC systems, lighting and laundry facilities, the analysis of at least a years' worth of utility bills, an evaluation of the building envelope and an analysis of existing energy management policies. This information is used to develop a comprehensive energy management plan that employs new technologies, alternative fuel sources and retrofitting existing equipment with energy-saving features, such as occupancy sensors on lights and heat recovery systems that can reduce water heating bills by up to 60 percent.
Our focus is on realistic, sustainable solutions that will continue to conserve energy in the long-term, and helping hospitals develop energy management policies is a large part of our work. Monitoring energy use alone can help reduce a hospital's annual bills by up to 15 percent, while staff training and awareness campaigns help ensure that the hospital community does its part to make the conservation efforts successful.