Ashe Memorial Hospital, Jefferson, North Carolina
100,000 Sq. Feet
Annual Cash Savings: $50,921.00
Annual Energy savings: 857,142 kWh
Payback period: 2.5 years
Prevented 1,898,571 pounds of CO2 emmissions annualy
Saving lives is critical to a hospital. But saving energy is critical to a healthy bottom line. Because a financially healthy hospital is better able to serve the community, Ashe Memorial Hospital Administrator R.D. Williams looked for ways to reduce his hospital’s utility and maintenance budgets while preserving high-quality medical services. His prescription was to upgrade to energy-efficient equipment.
Seeking a second opinion, Williams obtained a government grant to help pay for an outside consultant to perform a comprehensive energy audit. The audit, which cost the hospital $4,000, provided a list of energy-efficiency measures accompanied by a cost-savings projection and implementation budget for each one.
The audit pinpointed substantial potential savings in operating rooms and laboratories, two areas that require a constant temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. To maintain that temperature, the main chiller ran continuously, even when the rest of the hospital needed no cooling. So Williams installed a supplementary packaged chiller to serve those areas. With the new system now in place, the main chiller plant can be shut down in the winter, allowing Williams to perform preventive maintenance procedures. For an investment of $56,000, the hospital now saves $9,000 per year in energy costs. In addition, the hospital saves on labor costs since the main chiller does not have to be maintained and monitored during the winter.
The hospital’s outdated lighting system was limping along, at best. Williams opted for a new lighting design that eliminated the use of inefficient incandescent lamps. He replaced all the incandescent lamps in the hospital and boiler plant with more than 100 fluorescent fixtures. In addition, he upgraded all of the T-12 lamps and magnetic ballasts in existing fluorescent fixtures with T-8 lamps and electronic ballasts. The lighting modifications cost approximately $42,000, but the hospital saves $5,500 per year in energy costs.
The hospital also had trouble with poor air circulation caused by its inefficient heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Because of its poor controls, the system overheated one part of the hospital while overcooling another. Williams installed an energy management system (EMS) to improve the HVAC control system. The new EMS allows Williams to heat and cool parts of the hospital with surgical precision or to shut down the system in sections not occupied at night or on the weekends. It cost $100,000 to make the hospital more comfortable, but the EMS will save nearly $35,000 per year in energy costs.
Sometimes small changes can make a big difference. At Ashe Memorial Hospital, it seemed that HVAC motors were always running. Williams learned he could save big by installing high-efficiency motors in all those units that were greater than 3 horsepower and ran more than 50 hours per week. The new motors cost $20,000, but they save the hospital $3,000 annually.
Williams qualified for a government grant that helps pay for the energy-efficiency upgrades. Because of the grant, the hospital will recover its upgrade costs in 2.5 years instead of 4.5 years. By installing more efficient equipment, Williams has successfully nursed Ashe Memorial Hospital to greater financial health while increasing the comfort of its staff and patients.