By Jean Hand, ICF Consulting
In 2002 alone, ENERGY STAR helped businesses and consumers save more than $7 billion in energy costs while preventing the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 14 million cars. This impressive accomplishment was achieved through the collaborative efforts of thousands of businesses, product manufacturers, home builders, and others united in the pursuit of a common goal: to protect our environment by changing to energy-efficient products and practices today.
Managed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ENERGY STAR has partnered with organizations representing approximately 17 percent of the U.S. building floor space that have committed to improving their energy performance. EPA's partners continued to demonstrate the power of voluntary programs in 2002, making it the most successful year to date for protecting the climate through this approach. Playing a key role in that success is the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE). Named ENERGY STAR's Partner of the Year for Business and Institutional Outreach in April 2003, ASHE has been a prominent supporter of the program for years. If your hospital hasn't joined ENERGY STAR yet, now is a good time to consider its benefits.
By partnering with ENERGY STAR, your hospital demonstrates environmental leadership, improves its energy efficiency, and saves money. You can get the recognition you deserve, with many opportunities to highlight achievements within your organization and to the public.
To join ENERGY STAR, your CEO, CFO, or equivalent must sign the partnership letter committing your hospital to continuous improvement of your energy efficiency. There are no minimum upgrade requirements, no reporting, and no timelines. As part of this commitment, you agree to:
What can better energy performance mean for your organization? Figure 1 shows just how valuable even modest energy savings can be for your hospital.
Figure 1: Financial Power for Healthcare Organizations
|Non Profit||Each $1 saved in energy performance is equivalent to generating new revenues of:||$20 for hospitals|
|$10 for MOBs & nursing homes|
|For Profit||A 5% reduction in energy costs can increase earnings per share by:||One penny for hospitals, MOBs & nursing homes|
You can achieve savings of 10, 20 or even 30% or more by taking advantage of the energy management tools and resources found at www.energystar.gov.
Adopt a strategic management approach. A comprehensive approach to energy management includes assessing and setting performance goals, implementing an action plan, evaluating performance, and gaining recognition both internally and externally. ENERGY STAR offers resources to guide you at each stage in the process. The result is significant cost savings to your facility and a demonstrated commitment to our environment.
Make the commitment by joining ENERGY STAR. Take advantage of the partnership's offerings today. Enjoy the benefits of account support, network with other energy managers, and access resources that will help you achieve your goals.
Benchmark your energy performance. Whether you manage one acute care hospital or many, you can track your facilities' energy performance free-of-charge using EPA's Portfolio Manager benchmarking tool found on the ENERGY STAR Web site. By entering aggregate campus data you will be able to track energy savings, compare energy use to similar hospitals nationwide, set performance goals, and check progress. ENERGY STAR offers online training and a quick reference guide to help you through the process.
Implement O&M best practices. Start identifying practices for you and your staff to adopt right away. ENERGY STAR offers a list of O&M best practices that can help you get started.
Choose ENERGY STAR qualified products, such as TVs and VCRs, computers and other office equipment, when purchasing products for your healthcare organization. Visit www.energystar.gov to learn more about how to procure products that use 25 to 50% less energy without compromising quality or performance.
Participate in Web networking conferences. Monthly online conferences provide a private setting for partners to discuss overcoming barriers, elements of successful strategic energy management plans, lessons learned in prioritizing investments, and other topics pertaining to energy performance improvements.
Communicate to stakeholders. A Communications Kit is available to help you promote your efforts to staff, upper management, and the community. Partners receive content for their Intranet site, posters to hang in common areas, and energy saving tips for the home and workplace. ENERGY STAR can also provide your public relations department with templates and examples of press announcements to help spread the word.
Get recognition from EPA for your efforts. The ENERGY STAR logo not only identifies high quality, energy-efficient products, it is now found on the nation's most energy-efficient facilities, including acute care hospitals. Resources are available to ENERGY STAR partners to help develop success stories, building profiles, or other communications. Then, as savings grow 10%, 20%, or even 30%, you can earn additional recognition. Finally, top achievers can apply to be one of the few partners honored each year during the ENERGY STAR Awards celebration in Washington, D.C.
Regardless of where you are in your efforts, there's no better time than the present to improve your energy performance. These savings go straight to the bottom line, enabling you to become more competitive, fiscally responsible, and profitable. Money isn't all you're saving when you commit. You're also demonstrating your responsibility to the community you serve. And as former ASHE president Wayne Klinglesmith says, “That's a ‘win’ for everyone.”
Jean Hand is an Associate with ICF Consulting and provides support to hospital partners in the ENERGY STAR program. She can be reached at email@example.com or 703-218-2658.