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ENERGY STAR Labeled Building Profile

San Diego VA Medical Center
3350 La Jolla Village Drive
San Diego, CA 92161
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San Diego VA Medical Center (SDVA) continues to be a leader in providing health care and services in San Diego and Imperial Counties. In fiscal year 2011, the number of patients served by SDVA increased by eight percent with 4,332 Veterans from Iraq or Afghanistan enrolled at the Medical Center. In 2012, its staff received a number of accolades from being named a Top Performer on Key Quality Measures, several 2011 Spirit of Planetree Awards.

As of January 24, 2013, SDVA was one of five general medical and surgical facilities in California to receive the ENERGY STAR in 2012.

To meet the growing needs of the Veterans community, the Medical Center as part of the San Diego Health Care System, has embarked on 2011-2015 multi-year construction project. Energy efficiency solutions assessed by the Energy Engineering team are shared with the Construction team and some of the solutions have been incorporated into the planning and design of the newly constructed and renovated spaces through the efforts of Energy Engineer Jon Coger.

Energy management is a very high priority for the SDVA and helps the staff meet the strategic goals that it has set priorities from 2011 to 2015 of (1) improving staff and patient satisfaction, (2) enhancing patient access to care and (3) increasing organizational performance and resource utilization.

In order to meet all of the above listed priorities,  SDVA began implementing the ENERGY STAR Guidelines for Energy Management under the leadership of Jon Coger, Energy Engineer. The Medical Center became the first VA facility in California to receive an ENERGY STAR in 2010.

In January 2010, San Diego VA Medical Center retained Emerging Technologies Associates, Inc. (ETA) to benchmark the energy performance of the more than 938,000-square-foot medical center; assist in creating building-wide energy management strategies; track SDVAs energy savings; develop energy improvement strategies; and facilitate SDVAs application for the ENERGY STAR. At that time, the Engineering Department at SDVA worked with ETA to begin assessing the Medical Centers energy performance in accordance with the ENERGY STAR criteria for healthcare facilities, in order to determine the efficacy of energy efficiency projects at the whole building level. ETA began by analyzing SDVAs source energy use intensity (EUI) and the site EUI; the source EUI was already 21 percent below the national average for healthcare facilities.

By 2010, several new assessment projects were started and were completed by the first quarter, 2012: an advanced lighting control system featuring occupancy-controlled LED task lighting; a pilot of new LED and induction parking lot lighting was completed in 2012. An active participant and contributor to the San Diego Gas & Electrics Emerging Technologies Program, SDVA is testing and surveying all occupants from administrative, medical, volunteers to patients new LED T8s and 2x4 LED fixtures for not only significant reduction in energy use but improved lighting in the 24/7 facility.

These projects allowed the staff to determine the technological viability of future energy efficiency projects and to plan further reduction in overall energy consumption of the Medical Center in spite of the annual increase in census.

Prior to retaining ETA, in the fall of 2009, energy engineer Jon Coger was tasked with managing new energy efficiency projects despite a limited budget for such projects. Mr. Coger utilized internal resources and recruited colleagues to form an informal Green Team, which fosters cross-departmental collaboration and has contributed significant input to SDVAs energy management program. As new energy-efficient technologies were tried and assessed, medical staff members from doctors to nurses were surveyed to ensure that excellence in patient-centered care remained the key objective.

Since 2007, the Medical Center has invested in lighting retrofits, implemented direct digital control (DDC) of its building automation system, upgraded its cooling tower, and installed variable air volume boxes throughout the building. The fully automated HVAC control dashboard enables SDVA to identify and correct systems drifting outside of established performance parameters. Additionally, SDVA upgraded its combined heat and power system (CHPS) and has since shifted to using it year-round and seeking ways to confirm the effectiveness of the cogeneration plant, once total control is fully integrated into the building automation system. The CHPS contributed significantly to energy savings by (1) enabling the plant manager to focus on the distribution and use of electricity throughout the building; and (2) enabling the plant manager to balance energy consumption with demand while optimizing the use of electricity produced.

SDVA experienced a 13 percent increase in the number of veterans it served from 2008 to 2010 and an increase of roughly five percent in inpatient treatment and outpatient visits. In the same period, no budget increases were made available to SDVA. Despite these challenges, SDVAs energy consumption held steady at 400 kBtu/sqft, and by 2010, SDVAs completed projects had begun saving 3 million kWh and more than $800,000 annually. The facility earned the ENERGY STAR in 2010 and 2011 and developed an energy management plan using the ENERGY STAR Guidelines for Energy Management.

ETA joins SDVA in reviewing its Portfolio Manager Facility Summary on a quarterly basis and generates graphs of SDVAs energy performance. This practice enables SDVA to track changes in its energy consumption throughout the year and capture the positive results of energy-efficiency projects completed in 2009 and 2010. SDVA uses the EPA Energy Performance Target, Product Purchasing & Procurement, and the Staged Approach to Energy Efficiency.

Team members who contributed to the success of the energy management program include: Jeff Salas, M&R Chief, Herme Flores, Electrical Department Supervisor; Bill Diaz, Supervisory General Engineer; Mark Abeyta, Boiler Plant Operator Supervisor; Leslie Statler, Interior Designer; and Allen A. Moff, VISN 22 Energy Manager. In 2012, new LED lighting were installed in one of the operating suites as the Engineering staff successfully shared the low heat and enhanced visual qualities of LED technology with the surgical team.


The ENERGY STAR is prominently displayed at the main entrance of the Medical Center. SDVA's energy engineer Jon Coger continuously recommends the ENERGY STAR program to his colleagues within the VA Desert Pacific Healthcare System.

January 7, 2011: The entire Engineering team and Electrical Shop of the Medical Center received recognition on the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs website in the article, "San Diego Receives a 2010 ENERGY STAR Award."

2009: SDVA's DHPS project received the "Energy Champion" award from San Diego Gas && Electric at its 2009 Energy Showcase. SDVA was featured by San Diego Gas && Electric Company in an online video that is shared with the general public and the veteran community on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.

2009: SDVA received three globes as part of the Green Building Initiative's 2009 Green Globes Awards.



-- Lee Stevens, Vice President, Emerging Technologies Associates, Inc.

Please note: Narrative information in this profile has been provided by VA San Diego Healthcare System or a representative of this facility. Other building information was verified and submitted to EPA at the time of application. Building energy performance, operating characteristics, and ownership/management may be subject to change over time.

Service Provider:
Emerging Technologies Associates Inc

Federal Building

Building Owner:*
VA San Diego Healthcare System

Property Manager:*

Year(s) Labeled (Rating):
2010 (75)
2011 (75)
2012 (76)
2013 (75)

Facility Type: Hospital (General Medical & Surgical)

Total Floorspace: 938272 sf

Year Constructed: 1972

Contract Type: Internal Resources
Financing Type: Internal Capital

Technologies Used:

For More Info:
Lee Stevens
San Diego, CA 92160
805 448-4200