How Health Care Centers Save with These Energy Efficiency Projects

by | Apr 29, 2022

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The Orange Health Care Center in Connecticut is a 60-bed facility that provides skilled nursing programs. The state’s Small Business Energy Advantage paid a visit to the facility to examine ways for it to cut energy costs. While the audit is free, the services are not, although there could be some incentive money involved and low-interest loans. 

The group looked at the well of energy efficiency opportunities, examining everything from lighting to HVAC to refrigeration systems. The incentives can be as much as half of the installed cost, while the financing can be added to the monthly electric bill. And there is a one-year warranty on the contractors’ parts and labor.

“Almost every section of the building was addressed through the retrofitting of old fluorescent light units with new high-performance T8 light and ballast systems, replacement of all incandescent lamps with CFLs, retrofitting all incandescent exit signs with new LED exit signs, and installation of occupancy sensors to reduce the use of light when areas are unused,” says Connecticut High & Power that spearheaded the project.

After the audit, the healthcare facility got a $12,825 incentive from the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund. The center says that it can expect an annual energy savings of 71,414 kWh.

The United Illuminating Company administers the program. The Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund funds it. And all commercial and industrial businesses in Connecticut can participate. Other states have similar programs. 

What commercial business owners can do

— change incandescent lighting to LED, HID, or induction lighting; 

— convert T12 fluorescent lighting to high-performance or low-wattage T8 and T5 lighting and ballast systems;

— install occupancy sensors to reduce lighting/energy use in work areas;

— install timer controls or photocells for exterior lighting areas;

— introduce daylight harvesting, and

— install digital controls for the building’s HVAC, lighting, and process systems.

What industrial businesses can do

— introduce daylight harvesting;

— turn off the lights when natural lighting works; 

— maintain all operations to ensure they are always efficient; 

— benchmark energy consumption and develop a best practices approach; 

— assure the compressed air system is shut down when the plant systems are not being used, and

— repair steam and condensate leaks and return condensate to the boiler.

“We understand the priority of senior living facilities is maintaining the highest level of care for their residents,” said Roy W. Haller, UI director of commercial and industrial energy service programs. “As an energy expert, we can step in and steer energy efficiency initiatives in a feasible, cost-effective way, helping such facilities to focus on their core goals while experiencing the financial and environmental benefits of reduced energy usage.”

PSE&G Caring for Hospitals Too — to the savings of $400,000 a hospital.

Similarly, the Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset completed $5.7 million in energy efficiency improvements. The hospital is expected to save $600,000 a year in energy costs. 

The utility says that the energy efficiency work at RWJUH Somerset will save more than 3.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and 226,000 therms of natural gas annually. That is enough electricity to power about 500 homes for a year and enough natural gas to supply about 225 homes for a year.

The PSE&G Hospital Efficiency Program wants to improve the efficiencies at hospitals and healthcare facilities. PSE&G will perform an audit using such energy efficiency programs before making suggestions. Beyond recommending energy-saving ideas, it will help with the total bill by providing the upfront monies to cover the project’s cost. The hospital will pay it back over an extended time, often five years. 

The utility says it has completed work at 36 hospitals, with an average annual energy cost savings of more than $400,000 per hospital. 

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