How One Hospital Achieved ENERGY STAR® 100

Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Image: Russell Regional Hospital

Tips from Russell Regional Hospital: How to Achieve an ENERGY STAR® Score of 100
Achieving an ENERGY STAR® score of 100 is like winning the Pulitzer Prize for health care facility energy efficiency. Whether you are taking small steps to boost your facility’s sustainability efforts or are within arm’s reach of energy efficiency excellence, the story of Russell Regional Hospital will inspire you to discover new strategies for an improved ENERGY STAR score.

What an ENERGY STAR Score Means
An ENERGY STAR score, rated from 1 to 100, provides a snapshot of a building&rssquo;s energy performance in relationship to peer facilities. For instance, if a building scores below a 50, it is less efficient in energy use than 50 percent of similar facilities nationwide. This screening scale helps health care facility managers and other stakeholders assess building performance and identify buildings that offer the best opportunities for improvement. It does not explain why a building performs well or poorly or offer recommendations for enhancement.

ENERGY STAR 100: What Does It Look Like?
ENERGY STAR 100: What Does It Look Like? Russell Regional Hospital in Russell, Kansas, boasts an energy score of 100, meaning it is the top performing facility in its category of peer facilities. With a strong plan in place, an incredibly motivated maintenance staff, and a clear goal of reducing operating expenses to increase the focus on patient care, the 98,000-sq.-ft. facility reduced energy usage by an impressive 43 percent from 2013 to 2016.

How Did They Do It?

In-House Improvements
First, the team made small, in-house improvements. These improvements included a variety of low-risk, high-yield solutions such as turning lights off when they weren’t in use, reducing steam pressure, and dialing back on temperatures where possible, as well as making minor upgrades such as moving to more energy efficient light switches and light bulbs. They employed a maintenance plan that identified improperly functioning equipment and effectively eliminated space heaters from the building, and shared energy reduction and sustainability information frequently via a facility-wide newsletter.

Energy Service Company Project
Russell Regional Hospital then entered into a contract with an Energy Service Company (ESCO), a design-build contractor that focuses on energy and cost reduction, to further identify and act on areas of opportunity. A multitude of improvements were identified and implemented, including but not limited to:

  • Installing energy efficient lamps, ballasts, and fixtures
  • Replacing steam boilers with condensing hot water boilers
  • Installing a water-cooled chiller
  • Converting the multi-zone HVAC system to a variable-air volume system
  • Replacing the backup generator
  • Making significant updates to the facility’s building management system

Throughout the project, the ESCO carefully benchmarked, measured, and verified energy and cost savings to ensure success throughout the engagement.

What Can We Learn from Russell Regional Hospital?

Energy Service Company Project
Small Changes Make a Big Difference
By starting with minor in-house improvements, the team at Russell Regional was able to free up funds for larger initiatives. For example, by simply replacing a couple of light bulbs or light switches each month, costs were kept low while the long-term savings added up.

Motivation Goes a Long Way
This success story illustrates the incredible results possible when you have a motivated team and facility staff. Cultivating a culture of genuine excitement and enthusiasm toward energy reduction throughout an organization can lead to significant opportunities.

Working with an ESCO Often Pays for Itself
ESCO projects are often self-funded through energy savings and utility incentives without requiring capital from the health care facility. In the case of Russell Regional Hospital, the projected savings have already been verified as above the savings guarantee provided by the ESCO.

Working with an ESCO Often Pays for Itself
Not only did the improvements made by Russell Regional Hospital improve patient comfort, the reduction of energy and operating expenses throughout the facility freed up resources, allowing for a greater focus on patient care.

The Work Doesn’t Stop
Even at an ENERGY STAR score of 100, Russell Regional Hospital continues to look for ways to reduce energy consumption to make even greater strides in efficiency.

For additional details on Russell Regional Hospital’s journey to ENERGY STAR 100, view the case study.

Want to Hear Another Success Story?
Join us at the 2019 PDC Summit for the session, A Hospital’s Journey to LEED Platinum, and hear how the Fort Irwin Hospital in the High Mojave Desert went from setting standard goals to being on target to become the first net-zero, carbon-neutral, LEED Platinum military hospital. Hear from the owner, the designer, and the technical problem solver, and leave with valuable insight that can be applied to future projects of any size.

Take Action Within Your Organization
Following the PDC Summit, join your peers and ASHE for the Energy Treasure Hunt, a one-to-three-day interactive program designed to help health care facility managers identify low-cost energy savings opportunities, historically up to $200,000, within their organization.