There were 7,156 hospitals in the U.S. in 1975; currently, there are 5,723. The competition among hospitals to attract patients, and thus stay in business, has never been stiffer. As Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter explained at the recent Hospital of Tomorrow Conference, hospitals that provide the highest value care at the lowest cost will outlast those that don’t, so cost savings is key.
FacilitiesNet.com’s Executive Editor Greg Zimmerman points out that hospitals can start saving with energy management. Hospitals are one of the largest consumers of electricity in the commercial sector so managing a building’s energy usage smartly and efficiently can offer substantial savings. You need to be able to evaluate the building’s performance and have hard data in order to optimize its efficiency and reduce energy costs. “We collect data so we can understand operational and demand profiles. When you focus on how systems are being used, where there is inherent energy waste, you can determine where the energy savings are,” said Michael Della Barba, director of commissioning services at Environmental Health & Engineering, Needham, Massachusetts.
Cooling and heating contributes to nearly half of a building’s energy consumption. So outdated, inefficient HVAC systems can be significant energy drains. Hospitals that choose Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) zoning systems make a particularly wise investment. Here’s why:
- Zoning. Although hospitals provide around-the-clock care, seven days a week, not even half of the facility is used 24/7. You wouldn’t leave every light on in a hospital, only the ones in the occupied rooms. The same is true for HVAC. The zoning capabilities of VRF zoning systems give hospital administrators control where and when energy is spent by conditioning only the areas in use.
- Control. VRF zoning systems feature intelligent, intuitive controls that allow facility managers to easily and conveniently control the building’s systems. Our CITY MULTI Controls Network lets them set an operating schedule tailored to the needs of the patients, staff and the building.
- Savings. In addition to lower utility bills, some of our VRF zoning systems are ENERGY STAR®-qualified and can help earn tax rebates. VRF zoning systems are cost effective over time as well. The systems’ payback period is just 10 years.