It is estimated that healthcare activities account for 8% of total greenhouse gas emissions and 4% of all energy consumed in the United States. U.S. hospitals spend an average of $1.67 on electricity and $0.48 on natural gas per square foot each year, and electricity consumption by the healthcare industry adds over $600 million annually to direct health costs.
According to a 2010 Environmental Leader article, by rethinking their energy use and redesigning their energy systems, newly constructed and code-compliant hospitals can achieve overall utility reductions of 60%, carbon emission reductions of 7,800 tons, and savings of roughly $730,000. For example, according to National Grid:
- For each 1,000 kWh saved by turning off lights, systems, etc., facilities can realize utility savings of about $100.
- Implementing monitoring systems to continuously track a building’s energy systems can lead to 10-15% reductions on energy bills and yield savings of nearly 34,000 for a typical 100,000 square foot hospital.
- Replacing T12 fluorescent lamps with T8 lamps and electronic ballasts can reduce lighting energy consumption by 35%.
An Industry Leader
Last week, Kaiser Permanente announced plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2020. In 2008, which has been identified as the baseline, Kaiser Permanente produced an estimated 819,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, making its target emissions level 264,000 metric tons by 2020. In order to achieve this goal, the organization will invest in renewable and clean energy sources, implement energy conservation measures, and engage in green building practices. Estimated savings are expected to total over $10 million each year.