Saving energy through responsible energy use in Canadian healthcare institutions just got easier thanks to the addition of hospitals to the Government of Canada’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, a free, interactive, energy management tool that allows hospitals to track and assess energy across their entire portfolio of buildings in a secure online environment. Portfolio Manager is the only Canadian standardized energy benchmarking platform that uses a national data set and is an excellent complement to any energy management software or benchmarking routine you may already have in place.
The tool will help hospital administrators and facility managers find ways to use energy more responsibly, and reduce expenses.
In the U.S., over 4,800 hospitals benchmark their energy use with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager with many achieving significant energy savings. Ascension Health, the nation’s largest non-profit Catholic health system, reduced its overall energy use by 5.6 percent and avoided $10.1 million in energy costs between 2008 and 2011.
The new ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager’s energy performance scale feature will provide hospitals with a more precise reflection of actual energy performance and takes into account weather, source energy and other key variables. ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager’s 1–100 energy performance score is easily understood and can enhance communication between hospital facility managers and senior executives regarding a hospital’s performance. An ENERGY STAR energy performance score of 50 indicates average energy performance while an ENERGY STAR score of 75 or better indicates top performance. Performance improvements can be tracked over time by comparing current performance to the baseline established in Portfolio Manager
Some hospitals are already tracking energy data and assessing their energy performance by using benchmarking software. Energy benchmarking and retrofits have led to significant improvements in energy efficiency. St. Michael’s Hospital reduced energy use by 16 percent and GHG emissions by 19 percent from 2005 to 2009. The hospital installed four solar thermal panels on the roof of the Women’s Health Centre. Energy retrofits will include upgrades to lighting and the building automation system. Grey water is used to cool magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines. The hospital is also investigating the possibility of constructing a cogeneration plant.
At Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare, energy benchmarking revealed opportunities to save $350,000 in annual energy costs and a removal of 2,150 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the environment annually. The savings and efficiencies generated in the long-term by the hospital’s post-benchmarking action plan will be reinvested into patient care.