No- or Low-Cost Improvements: Energy Efficiency at Blessing Hospital
Healthcare facilities are one of the top five energy-consuming commercial building types, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. These facilities often have opportunities for no- or low-cost updates to improve energy efficiency, and many utilities across the United States have designed programs specifically for large campuses.
Ameren Illinois’ Large Facilities Retro Commissioning offering, which is administered by the Leidos Energy Efficiency Program Delivery team, provides incentives to help facilities like hospitals achieve up to 30 percent in energy savings. These incentives can cover up to 70 percent of the discovery phase cost to identify projects with less than a one-year payback period. With ENERGY STAR® stating that healthcare organizations spend more than $65 billion on energy use each year, these savings are no small feat.
One success story is the retro commissioning survey conducted at Blessing Hospital in Quincy, Illinois. The hospital is a 307-bed facility that had already completed many energy efficiency upgrades. Working with one of Ameren Illinois’ energy management partners, the hospital undertook a pre-screening process to give it an ENERGY STAR® rating when compared to similar buildings. It was initially in the 38th percentile of comparable buildings based on energy usage per square foot.
Through retro commissioning, the hospital identified more than 100 no- or low-cost measures, such as adjustments to air volume, pressure controls and motor speeds. By implementing these recommendations, Blessing Hospital was able to cut its electricity use by nearly 10 percent and natural gas use by almost 17 percent, boosting its ENERGY STAR® rating to the 62nd percentile.
According to the Ameren Illinois case study, original estimates put the payback period for the entire retro commissioning project at eight months, but the hospital recouped their costs after just two and a half months. As a result of their energy efficiency efforts, Blessing Hospital will save more than $176,000 every year in energy costs — freeing up funds that will ultimately benefit their patients.