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Memorial Hermann Healthcare System

Logo for Memorial Hermann Healthcare System Houston, Texas
10% Improvement (2012)

Memorial Hermann Healthcare System (Memorial Hermann), the largest not-for-profit healthcare system in Southeast Texas providing tertiary care to the greater Houston area, occupies 12 major campus locations in addition to its numerous medical office buildings and outpatient healthcare facilities. Memorial Hermann owns and operates more than 8.8 million square feet of healthcare facilities and is licensed for more than 3,700 beds. Memorial Hermann's energy efficiency goals closely parallel Memorial Hermann's healthcare focus on delivering high-quality patient care. Partnership with ENERGY STAR has provided the framework to achieve incremental success across the entire real estate portfolio, while providing reward and recognition for key milestones on Memorial Hermann's journey towards energy efficiency, bottom-line financial improvement, and environmental stewardship. Memorial Hermann Healthcare System has been an ENERGY STAR partner since 2012.


Memorial Hermann Healthcare System has been recognized by EPA as an ENERGY STAR Leader for improving energy efficiency by 10 percent across its portfolio of buildings compared to a 2007 baseline. Memorial Hermann has achieved an average energy performance score of 67 across its portfolio of buildings, representing a 28-point improvement since 2007. This improvement in energy efficiency has yielded a $12 million improvement in Memorial Hermann's energy bottom line. Compared to its 2007 baseline, Memorial Hermann Healthcare System is preventing the emissions of more than 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, which is equivalent to the carbon sequestered by more than 769,000 tree seedlings planted and grown for 10 years.


Tuning, repairing, and balancing the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC) were the logical first focus for energy performance improvement given the round-the-clock schedules and volume of outside air required by code for hospital and clinical facilities. In addition, code-mandated air exchange rates, space temperature, and relative humidity ranges provided challenges to improving energy efficiency while not violating regulatory aspects of infection control and Department of Health guidelines. Memorial Hermann focused on improving repair and maintenance best practices, correcting previously deferred maintenance and test/balance efforts, and calibrating and tuning building controls for HVAC systems. Re-heat, building controls, time-of-day scheduling, and HVAC seasonal optimization were focus areas that provided the highest benchmarking return relative to effort and maintenance expenditures. Due to the slim operating margins in the healthcare business, Memorial Hermann focused its efforts on improving the outcomes of existing repair and maintenance budgets. The projects focus was on low- and no-cost maintenance projects and efforts with an immediate return on investment. In addition, Memorial Hermann took advantage of peak demand management rebates offered by the regional utility which totaled nearly $800,000, resulting in a very favorable payback while replacing aged lighting systems and older, roof-top HVAC chillers in multiple locations.


Key to the teams energy management success is the human element of team dynamics. The focus on goal setting, benchmarking, competition between facilities, and reward/recognition supports the overall performance improvement journey at both the campus and corporate levels. Senior leaderships focus and support of goals, objectives, and milestones is a further intangible component of the Memorial Hermann energy management toolkit. Each campus and facility has an internal operations team that customizes and prioritizes individual tasks within the energy toolkit to best fit their specific campus requirements. Memorial Hermann, at a corporate level, provides leadership guidance, budgetary support for operations and maintenance, and normalized benchmarking data with monthly dashboards that are distributed at both the facility and executive levels. Team education is delivered on energy strategies, goal setting, and the physics of HVAC and energy, which are presented during periodic lunch and learn sessions for campus operations teams. Gaining the experience, trust, buy-in, and ideas of the local plant operations team has been a crucial element for improving energy management outcomes.