The Hospitals Industry’s Energy Cost Problem

Large hospitals are in a fairly unique place in terms of energy usage.

Manufacturers across the U.S. and indeed the entire world are starting to see energy costs as one of the most significant unaddressed issues facing their industry.

They make up only 1% of all commercial buildings — only 2% of all commercial square footage — in the United States, but they use a huge 5.5% of all energy delivered to the commercial sector. (‘Commercial’ in this context merely meaning ‘neither residential nor governmental.’) But equally interesting in terms of energy consumption, large hospitals use a staggering amount of natural gas in comparison to their electricity usage, which makes many ‘energy saving’ products and strategies built for traditional commercial outfits less applicable among large hotels. Furthermore, most large hospitals (75%) already had the basics of an energy conservation plan in place, not utilizing unnecessary lighting, heating, and so on. This makes hospitals a particularly difficult client for an energy optimizer…it would seem. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average large hospital (with significant variances for environmental circumstances) spends energy thusly: HVAC 31% Water Heating 26% Lighting 15% Cooking 10% Office Equipment 6% Refrigeration 2% Miscellaneous 10% Given that your typical hospital already has the standard array of double-pane windows, CFL/LED lights, and conservation cycles on its HVAC system, what more exists to do?

It’s All About the Automation

The average large hospital has very basic building automation systems in place — using thermostats to determine when the HVAC needs to activate and in which direction, basic motion sensors to deactivate lighting in long-unused areas, and so on. The problem with these low-level automations is that they do a barely-adequate job, but they also get in the way of a higher-end, more comprehensive and powerful building automation system…which is what is required to more aggressively pursue energy conservation in a large hospital.

Automation options that stretch far above and beyond the basic thermostats-and-motion-sensors include powerful techniques such as:

52% Motor Systems

Zone Scheduling, the ability to have the lighting, HVAC, and optional circuits of a given area turned to mid-occupancy, low-occupancy, and no-occupancy levels with a single command, given either on a preprogrammed schedule or in response to a command.

Annual Norm-Setting, or the option to program the ‘comfort zone’ of your building to slowly but smoothly change as the seasons change — granting a few extra degrees before the cooling kicks on in the summer, and a few extra before the heating kicks on in the winter. Each degree you adjust can, according to the EIA, save up to 3% on a hospital’s HVAC costs — and making that adjustment automated means never missing on an opportunity for savings.

Occupancy Override, the ability to have your existing Zone Scheduling options automatically overridden in response to infrared or motion sensors on a zone-by-zone basis.

Clearly, while the standard array of energy-saving measures designed to help reduce the energy costs of an office building, warehouse, or restaurant will be useful to a manufacturer, they have a unique need: optimizing the energy efficiency of their big bad motor systems.

Holiday Settings, allowing the administrator to program a yearly schedule in one time and then automatically setting all of the areas that are less (or more!) used during holidays to the appropriate level of heat, lighting, and so on. This prevents any accidental overspend if someone forgets to turn everything down before they leave the previous evening.

Sun and Moon Tracking, which will dim or brighten the external, sidewalk, and parking lot lights in response to the system’s calculations of the sun and moon positions, providing only as much light as is needed moment-by-moment to safely get your patients and workers from the parking light to the door.

Daylight Optimization, which uses photovoltaic sensors both inside and on the rooms with large windows to automatically dim the lights, raise and lower shades, and perform other functions based on the amount of light available outside.

Optimized HVAC Start/Stop calculates the precise times necessary to start and stop the heating and cooling systems based on information taken in from external temperature sensors, internal temperature sensors, occupancy levels, and time-of-day. Keeps the guesswork out of scheduling HVAC startup and maximizes ‘coasting’ time at the end of the day.

Responsive Ventilation takes input from CO2 sensors to determine the ‘fresh air need’ of the occupants of a space, activating ventilation only when it becomes important to the space instead of having it run arbitrarily whenever the main system kicks on or off.

Load Shedding techniques constantly monitor the load on each circuit of your electric grid (as well as the grid as a whole), and when the load on a given area exceeds a set threshold, turn down or even shut down less-critical systems temporarily, in order to prevent peak-load charges from the local provider.

Introducing the EnergyMoneySaver

Linsyx Energy’s core product, the EnergyMoneySaver, gives you every tool you need to absolutely maximize your building automation — and more.

A powerful monitoring system that can accept input from hundreds of sensors, from motion to photovoltaic to voltmeters and many more, An equally powerful computer that can be programmed to respond to those sensors, scheduled events, other programs, manual controls, or even commands given via Internet portal or eMail. And a top-of-the-line power conditioner that resculpts the waveforms of all of the electricity coming into your building, causing every electric device you use to last longer, use less electricity, and send data with less packet loss. With the EnergyMoneySaver installed at your large hospital, all of the energy-saving automation techniques listed earlier — along with hundreds of others — are at your disposal. Moreover, as part of installing the EMS unit, our expert engineers will give your hospital a complete energy audit, covering far more than just electricity usage. We’ll talk about: Natural gas, and how you might be able to save by switching equipment ranging from boilers to ranges, Fuel oil, and how your backup generators, heaters and water heaters, and other fuel burning equipment can be made more efficient, Heat, where you might be losing it (or failing to harvest it!), and where you’re generating too much and spending too much on cooling, And how the EMS unit can help you use automation — be it preprogrammed, sensor-response, or direct-control — to make all of those savings as easy and normal as possible. Looking to drive down your hospitals’s monthly expenses? Linsyx Energy guarantees 15% minimum off of your monthly energy bills after our audit and the setup of our product. Your accounting department should be able to tell you exactly how long it will take to pay for itself at that rate — and every month you operate past that, it’s pure profit. Call Linsyx Energy at 1 844-503-3968 and talk to an expert about exactly how we can help you.