Renewable energy: ready and reliable

| ,
Written by: Mital Hall

The lights are always on at healthcare facilities. Events like births, sudden illness, and injuries occur regardless of the hour of the day or the weather outside. Even power interruptions must not interrupt care. At any hour and any facility that provides healthcare, energy needs can be substantial.

The need is greatest where inpatient care is provided. Hospitals use 8% of all domestic energy, making them the second-most energy-intensive commercial buildings in the U.S. They require more than twice the energy per square foot than offices, schools, and retail.

A crisis makes landfall

During and after a major storm, healthcare service delivery requires even more electricity. Each person admitted to a medical facility places another life in the care of hospital staff, equipment, and the electricity powering that equipment. Regardless of the catastrophic event, life support devices and medication storage can have no downtime.

Electricity is a 1%- 3% budget line item as well as an essential utility. Each year, hospitals spend over $5 billion on energy. Providing 24/7/365 service delivery requires a cost-effective, storm-proof power source.

Growing need is forecasted

In recent years, extreme storms and greater numbers of storms have placed further demands on healthcare service delivery. Atlantic storms rapidly intensify. 70 mph wind increases within 24 hours were formerly predicted to occur once per century. By 2100, they could happen once every five to ten years.

Keeping watch

Zero-cost best practices and investments of all sizes can reduce the risks of power outages and cost increases.

The EPA reports that 4,939 hospital properties have used its free ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager as of November 2018. Another government agency, the Department of Energy (DOE), studied ways health care facilities could monitor use. The DOE report, issued through the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, can help to set priorities and scope for metering and energy audit projects.

HVAC systems consume roughly one-third of all hospital energy. Bi-annual tune-ups and consistent power monitoring have the potential to bring immediate Return On Investment (ROI).

Withstanding the storms

The inclusion of cost and availability risk reduction in ROI calculations may justify renewable energy installations. In San Juan, Puerto Rico, the VA Hospital’s solar system remained undamaged after 180-mph winds. Because the system could flex under stress, stored sunlight powered lifesaving services in an unprecedented crisis.

Investments in renewables can be preventative medicine. 4,130 premature deaths, 3,750 hospital visit incidents, and 85,000 asthma attacks could be averted if the U.S. healthcare sector reduced their fossil-fueled emissions 30% by 2030. That would save about $1.2 billion in medical expense.

The ecoPreserve team is here to share its experience and regulatory knowledge in the healthcare environment. To achieve efficiencies and energy cost reductions, we have supported EPA ENERGY STAR and USGBC LEED initiatives. We have also led Solid Waste Management and employee engagement programs at hospitals. Reach us here.

Tags

Copyright © 2021 ecoPreserve. All Rights Reserved.

AWARE of CDC and NIH guidelines

The Baseline Property Condition Assessments described in ASTM E2018-15 do not specify consideration of infectious disease transmission concerns. In a pandemic and post-pandemic environment, that inspection and documentation is essential.

Buildings open to the public must comply with local regulations. For best results and greatest public acceptance, any planning for building repairs and maintenance should not overlook current CDC and NIH guidelines.

Optionally, ecoPreserve's can assist with a comprehensive GBAC STAR™ Accreditation which extends beyond the building to include the goals, actions, equipment, and supplies needed to implement best practices for outbreak prevention, response, and recovery.

Tools tailored to location and need

Disaster resilience requires a select toolset, identified, adapted, or created as needed based on planning calls and inclusive workshop participation.

Business and government organizations today are confronted by threat categories that range from drought to flood, from fire to hurricane, and extend globally to pandemics and sea level rise. Threat categories are broad and diverse, but ecoPreserve and collaborating organizations design resiliency tools for specific local context.

Local needs are identified and verified. Building from that essential understanding, tools are designed, tested in pilot programs, refined, then implemented through action plans.

Today's challenges/
tomorrow's potential

ecoPreserve collaborates with major community and private organizations in optimizing the resiliency and resource efficiency of their workplaces, venues, and public spaces.

In response to ever-increasing environmental, sociopolitical, and public health challenges, we advocate for and participate in assessment and planning actions that directly address disaster preparations, recovery activities, infrastructure improvements, and smart building/city design.

Online and in-person workshops

ecoPreserve designs and leads workshops in varied formats, to achieve varied goals.

Often an event is held for skill and knowledge development, but some needs of an organization or community are better resolved through collaboration to identify requirements and to design solutions. A range of Disaster Resilience workshops are available for solutions planning and development, as well as for training and communication.

Disaster Planning and Recovery Workshops

  • Identify technical and business process gaps
  • Define stakeholders, recovery teams, and processes/functionalities necessary for operation
  • Highlight missed expectations from a data loss and recovery time perspective
  • Address compliance with regulatory agencies and industry standards
Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

Facility Condition Report

The report is prepared in accordance with the recommendations of ASTM E2018-15, Standard Guide for Property Condition Assessments. This is a partial list of contents:

  • PHYSICAL CONDITION
    • General condition of the building, grounds, and appurtenances
    • Physical deficiencies, their significance, and suggested remedies
    • Photographs
    • Safety issues observed
  • INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPREAD POTENTIAL
  • OPPORTUNITIES
    • Potential operating efficiencies
    • Electricity and water use reductions
    • High-efficiency interior and exterior lighting
  • ORDER OF MAGNITUDE RENOVATION BUDGET
    • Recommended interior finishes
    • Construction costs

Risk Mitigation Improvements

  • IAQ
    • Airflow
    • Temperature and humidity
    • Vertical transportation (escalators and elevators)
  • HVAC EQUIPMENT
    • Settings
    • Conditions
    • Capability
    • Filtration
  • FLOORPLAN
    • Traffic patterns
  • FURNISHINGS
    • Placement for social distancing
    • Clear barriers where social distancing is not possible

Interior Elements

  • Foundation
  • Building frame and roof
  • Structural elements
    • Floors, walls, ceilings
    • Access and egress
    • Vertical transportation (escalators and elevators)
  • HVAC equipment and ductwork
  • Utilities
    • Electrical
    • Plumbing
  • Safety and fire protection

Grounds and Appurtenances

  • Façades or curtainwall
  • Topography
  • Storm water drainage
  • Paving, curbing, and parking
  • Flatwork
  • Landscaping
  • Recreational facilities
Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

AWARE of CDC and NIH guidelines

The Baseline Property Condition Assessments described in ASTM E2018-15 do not specify consideration of infectious disease transmission concerns. In a pandemic and post-pandemic environment, that inspection and documentation is essential.

Buildings open to the public must comply with local regulations. For best results and greatest public acceptance, any planning for building repairs and maintenance should not overlook current CDC and NIH guidelines.

Optionally, ecoPreserve's can assist with a comprehensive GBAC STAR™ Accreditation which extends beyond the building to include the goals, actions, equipment, and supplies needed to implement best practices for outbreak prevention, response, and recovery.

An OPTIMIZED Assessment

Certified Sustainability Consultants on a facility assessment team can discover ways to lower energy costs. Their understanding of HVAC equipment suitability and condition along with the specifics of LED lighting retrofits can provide offsets for needed investments in upgrades and replacements.

Knowledge of water systems can bring further savings while averting water waste. It can all be part of an assessment which might otherwise overlook water fixtures and irrigation schedules.

How should a facility be ASSESSED?

A thorough facility assessment finds the issues - on the surface or below - which have a potential negative impact on the building. That brings the facility to meet building codes. Beyond that, the assessment proactively addresses the deficiencies not covered by code.

The occupants of a building benefit as the assessment reveals conditions having a potential impact on their health or safety. The assessment must not overlook those conditions, nor fail to consider the frequency and duration of occupant visits.