By Kara Brooks, LEED AP BD & C, ASHE Sustainability Program Manager
While presenting ASHE’s Sustainability programs at the ASHE Region 8 conference, I was questioned about starting an energy management program with limited resources. I would venture to say that it begins with ENGAGEMENT. I’m referring to engagement of key stakeholders in the process. Key stakeholders include those affected by energy use within the health care facility: the energy manager, maintenance staff, hospital administrators and financial managers, local utilities, auditors, and consultants. Stakeholders gain a thorough understanding of the energy that is being used through benchmarking energy use in facilities. This benchmarking information can then be used to engage stakeholders in a commitment to sustainability and the establishment of an energy management program.
One tool for benchmarking health care facilities is Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager. Currently more than 5,000 health care facilities in the United States have benchmarked their facilities in Portfolio Manager, encompassing more than 85 percent of the health care market in terms of square footage. Of these 5,000 facilities, more than 2,500 have enrolled in ASHE’s Energy to Care program (which utilizes the energy data from Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager). Top performers are translating impressive results, however the numbers of facilities eligible for Energy Star Certification represent less than 10 percent of health care facilities across the United States. The numbers are telling of the availability of improvements that are available to the health care profession.
Resources are available to facilities to help with the process of benchmarking, and ASHE and your local chapters are excited to assist you. For more information, please contact ASHE’s Energy to Care help desk at firstname.lastname@example.org.