By Bob La Rose, ICF Consulting
In the business world, office equipment constitutes the fastest growing portion of electrical loads. However, much of this energy is wasted because equipment is left on when not in use throughout the workday, at night, and on weekends.
Electrical loads from office equipment, as well as cooling loads, can be reduced by the use of ENERGY STAR labeled office equipment. Virtually all office equipment manufacturers offer a wide range of ENERGY STAR labeled models. Office equipment with the ENERGY STAR label saves energy and money by powering down and entering “sleep” mode or off mode when not in use. Products that meet the ENERGY STAR specifications use about half as much electricity as conventional equipment.
How much money can you save? It depends on the specific products your hospital uses, but if you consider that replacing just one of your conventional computers with an ENERGY STAR qualified computer can save your hospital $50 per year in energy costs, it's easy to see that the savings add up. And even for those products that are not ENERGY STAR qualified, you can put a minimum efficiency standard in place.
Meeting with your procurement officials is the first step toward purchasing ENERGY STAR qualified products. Your procurement officials have specifications in place to ensure that your hospital receives the right products at the right time at the right price. Tell them about the benefits of purchasing ENERGY STAR qualified products and guide them to sample procurement language on the ENERGY STAR Web site at www.energystar.gov.
Be sure to point out that ENERGY STAR qualified products often cost the same as conventional products, are of the same or higher quality, and save the hospital money on operating costs. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), for example, provide excellent value and quality, with color rendering indices of greater than 80 and a lamp life of up to 10,000 hours. This means high quality light for patients and staff, and reduced maintenance time and expense for support personnel. By replacing 1,000 75-watt incandescent lamps with the CFLs of equal light output (20 watts) your hospital can save approximately $57,000* over the life of those CFLs. Significant savings can also be achieved with other ENERGY STAR qualified products.
By using ENERGY STAR qualified products in many or all of the listed areas below, you can go a long way toward reducing space heat gain, providing a more comfortable climate for both staff and patients, and reducing energy and demand components of your utility bill.
ENERGY STAR offers resources and calculators to make it easy for you to quickly demonstrate to your financial and property managers the value ENERGY STAR qualified products can make in your facilities.
Through ready-to-use procurement language and online qualified product lists, ENERGY STAR makes it easy to purchase products that are not only good for your bottom line, but also help prevent air pollution. Incorporate ENERGY STAR into your purchasing policies today to start reducing your energy costs and enhance your environmental stewardship.
Bob La Rose is a Technical Specialist with ICF Consulting and professional engineer who provides technical support to hospital partners in the ENERGY STAR Program. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-934-3589.