New features offer a clean, user-friendly interface for quick interpretation relevant to sophisticated and novice users alike.
By Josh and Lindsey Brackett, Faculty for ASHE Energy to Care Educational Programs
ASHE recently launched its new Energy to Care Dashboard, which offers an at-a-glance view of health care facilities’ energy performance. ASHE designed this tool to be highly visual and actionable to support users who have limited time and resources. The dashboard is easy to interpret – it makes monitoring energy as simple as monitoring steps with a fitness tracker. Plus, it’s free to all Energy to Care participants as a member value resource!
A successful energy management program optimizes energy performance through benchmarking, establishing reasonable goals, developing action plans, tracking program results and communicating those results with senior management. It will only take 15 minutes a day to use the tool and find energy savings that can influence around half of each health care facility’s budget and add value to the organization.
Like the previous version, the new Energy to Care Dashboard supports bi-directional communication with ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager. Users have the option to push data from the dashboard to Portfolio Manager or vice versa, and their current ENERGY STAR score is available right on the homepage along with other key views, or widgets.
The revamped dashboard offers new elements for users in addition to its classic features. Along with ENERGY STAR certification, health care facilities may now participate in the Energy to Care Awards Program. The Awards Progress view on the homepage tracks a building’s year-to-date eligibility toward an Energy to Care Award, which honors facilities that reduce energy consumption by 10% in a single year or 15% over 2 years. The program also recognizes previous award winners that reduce energy consumption by 5%. This feedback ideally will inspire participants to monitor their building’s energy performance on a monthly basis and achieve higher year-over-year energy savings.
The key take-away from Mercy Willard’s journey is to not take a high efficiency design for granted. A building must also operate as designed to ensure that its high efficiency intent can be realized. Scott and his team realized that it was the people behind the operations who made the difference. He credits Mercy Willard’s efficiency improvements to the staff’s involvement and educating them on key aspects of the design intent.
Health care facilities also have the option to participate in the Energy to Care Chapter Challenge. This friendly competition encourages ASHE affiliated chapters to reduce their energy consumption. Chapters that enroll five or more health care facilities in the challenge are eligible to compete. The new dashboard allows users to monitor their chapter’s standing throughout the year.
Homepage views are designed to clearly communicate key energy metrics. There are widgets to monitor a facility’s energy cost index (energy cost per square foot) and its site and source energy use intensity (kBtu per square foot), commonly referred to as EUI. Energy performance graphs provide monthly cost and consumption trend data for electricity, natural gas and total energy. These graphs offer enhanced features like weather data overlays and trigger points (i.e., notes on critical events like equipment failures, energy projects and operational changes).
Users’ energy savings are displayed on the year-to-date Energy Cost Savings widget, which quantifies and captures the effects of improved performance in addition to the trend data displayed on the energy performance graphs. Facility managers now have financial performance data at their fingertips when justifying a business case for energy-related projects to their C-suite. All energy cost and consumption widgets offer users the ability to adjust the view’s timeline with a click of a button. With the proper data, users can scroll through time and identify when significant changes took place and compare current performance against performance from the past month, several months or year.
The Energy to Care Dashboard also offers detailed views and related resources via the homepage’s drop-down menu bar. For example, the Utility Portfolio feature displays graphical views of the selected building’s utility bills and accounts and the Utility Gap Analysis feature provides interactive graphs and a table to identify utility bill data integrity issues. Consider it a checks and balances tool to ensure utility bills are entered into the system correctly and completely. This analysis is especially beneficial for users seeking to verify Energy to Care Award eligibility. The drop-down menu bar also houses complementary resources to support users in engaging with the Energy to Care Program and new dashboard.
If you’d like to learn more about the new Energy to Care Dashboard, visit the Energy to Care website at energytocare.org, or contact ASHE staff directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Authors
Joshua Brackett offers numerous perspectives into health care facilities management due to his diverse background. Starting his career in fire protection design at a national engineering firm, Josh gained a strong foundation in codes and standards. He leveraged this technical expertise to build relationships across the nation and through the ASHE Sustainability Committee and Regulatory Affairs Committee. Later transitioning to a fire protection contracting company, Josh leads Joint Commission compliance and energy management at Arkansas’ largest health care organization, Baptist Health. In 2018, Josh also co-founded Legacy FM and works with hospitals and organizations to empower the men and women that keep our hospitals running by developing training programs for facilities management leaders and their teams.
Lindsey Brackett has over eight years of experience in the health care engineering and construction field after earning a bachelor's degree at Oklahoma State University. She has been responsible for the development and management of over $370 million in specialized energy solutions and infrastructure projects. Since starting her career in health care engineering consulting, Lindsey has served as director of facility management services and education. During this time, she has provided health care facilities management teams with the tools and resources they need to make data-driven, well-informed decisions that improve their energy efficiency and facility operations. The most recent of these solutions is a health care facilities operation and maintenance training program, the first of its kind in the field.