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How HVAC Overhauls Boost Hospital Energy Performance

In most industries, replacing a traditional HVAC system with a fully modern one can be more of luxury than a necessity. But that isn’t always the case in healthcare.

At America’s leading hospitals, high HVAC standards are far from a talking point, they are crucial to fulfilling the altruistic mission that lays at the heart of modern healthcare. And failure to adopt a hospital HVAC systems to today’s efficiency standards can have devastating consequences. Fortunately, emerging technologies such as energy analytic platforms like RTIS® from Artis Energy Intelligence are available to help healthcare systems identify HVAC inefficiencies in real time, and recommend needed upgrades. These tools can allow executives to identify faulty equipment quickly, find building sections with inefficient energy use practices, and create data-driven benchmarks to measure energy performance.  In many cases, RTIS®-generated data feeds can be used to put together energy-use roadmaps that help dictate future building maintenance and renovation efforts, while helping organizations free up capital for strategic initiatives.

But whether supported by data-driven analytics or not, excellence in HVAC management goes hand in hand with superiority in overall healthcare facilities management. To help underscore how modern HVAC systems can differentiate hospitals from their peers, we have listed some primary benefits that emanate from these investments:

Support Better Healthcare Outcomes by Ensuring a Cleaner Environment for Patients. With the support of modern HVAC technology, hospitals can customize the way air-flow into specific rooms. This not only reduces energy costs, it can significantly improve air quality in certain rooms. For example, building managers can drastically reduce the level of fresh outside air ported into non-medical rooms such as storage areas and offices, an action that will save resources. Moreover, hospitals can rollout new displacement ventilation systems, as opposed to traditional overhead ventilation systems, into sensitive medical areas such as operating rooms. These new methods can help reduce germ prevalence in healthcare facilities, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Additionally, platforms such as RTIS®- are available to track the progress of these improvements with detailed analytics and reporting, helping building managers ensure these improvements are producing the desired efficiencies.

Strengthen Profit Margins by Using Automated HVAC Systems. As Health Facilities Management magazine has noted, automated HVAC systems can give hospitals a newfound advantage in reducing energy costs. And given the tighter budget environment hospitals face, any ability to free up capital is an opportunity healthcare operators can’t pass up. As the publication reported, UF Health could save “millions of dollars” over an eight-year period by making such investments. The savings are particularly notable given that the tech/ops investment that UF Health needed to implement the automation initiative cost less than $45,000. One can only expect to hear more of these types of stories in the future as more health systems adopt energy analytic programs that can help eliminate energy waste and thus overall utility expenses.

HVAC Modernization Can Help Hospitals Identify Other Energy Weaknesses and Thus Improve Further. The Indiana Regional Medical Center used the HVAC modernization process to identify weaknesses in their existing plumbing and hydraulic systems and thus reduce waste and improve efficiency, according to Health Facilities Management magazine. The mapping of the trouble points led to a significant overhaul of the firm’s piping network, an effort that helped reduce its electricity consumption by 14% and natural gas use by 21%, helping the facility save $225,000 annually. Its reputation improved via this HVAC related work, as the Indiana Regional Medical Center earned the Energy to Care Award in 2015 from the American Society of Healthcare Engineering (ASHE).

HVAC upgrades have proven to be real catalysts in improving hospital performance and enhancing reputations. As healthcare executives gain deeper understanding of the value of energy analytic systems, the trend can only be expected to escalate further.

Request a complimentary energy efficiency assessment to find out how Artis Energy’s RTIS® energy analytics platform can provide you with the visibility and insight to transform energy from a fixed cost into a distinct competitive advantage.