WASHINGTON, D.C. — To improve energy efficiency, thousands of hospitals rely on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star tools to help track consumption and prioritize facilities for energy upgrades. EPA recently released an important update to Energy Star’s national energy performance scale methodology for hospitals. The updated performance scale will help hospitals better assess energy performance and make more informed financial and investment decisions in order to cut costs and improve energy efficiency.
Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager, an online energy measurement and tracking tool, now includes the updated hospital methodology. The update reflects new survey data provided by the American Society for Healthcare Engineering and the significant changes in how hospitals use energy in recent years.
Improving the energy efficiency of America’s hospitals by 10 percent would save 7.3 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, 243 million therms of natural gas each year, and about $740 million annually in energy bills. It would also prevent greenhouse gas emissions equal to that from the annual electricity use of more than 712,000 homes.
The updated Energy Star national energy performance scale methodology for hospitals now includes data inputs for the number of MRI machines and personnel and adjustments to weather normalization to reflect the amount of energy used to cool the building. Additionally, the methodology’s 5-million-square-foot size cap was removed, allowing larger hospitals to take advantage of the online tool.
Energy Star was started by EPA in 1992 as a market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Today, the Energy Star label can be found on more than 60 different kinds of products as well as new homes and commercial and industrial buildings that meet strict energy-efficiency specifications set by EPA. Last year alone, Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved about $18 billion on energy bills while preventing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the annual emissions of 33 million vehicles.