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Energy conservation helps Vanderbilt provide quality care to every patient – just think “Code Green” in terms of energy use…

Heating and Cooling

The largest percentage of energy used in a clinical setting is for heating and cooling, approximately 45% of a hospital’s energy budget1. Decreasing demand for heating and cooling is key in minimizing spikes in power consumption, meeting critical power needs during times of power curtailment, and can go a long way in reaching our overall goal of a 15 percent reduction (or more) in power usage.

Thermostats

If you can control the thermostat in your area, the suggested thermostat settings are 75°F in summer and 68-70°F in winter. A setting of 73°F in the summer uses 50% more energy than a setting of 78°F2.

If you can control your thermostat, adjust it more radically when everyone leaves for the day (assuming you are the last shift of the day and the area is unoccupied). If you have a programmable thermostat, take advantage of its capabilities to generate energy savings. If you have a manual non-pneumatic thermostat, consider investing in programmable thermostats for your area. Plant Services can install a programmable thermostat for your department if you place a work order.

Thermostat Management Tip: cranking the temperature down to a very low temperature doesn’t cool an area faster. Thermostats and cooling systems work together to cool an area based on a fixed time to reach the setpoint temperature – same goes for heating3. Avoid the thermostat yo-yo effect. If you think the indoor temperature seems extremely cold or hot, call Plant Services (322-2041) and alert them to the temperature extreme. A simple repair can save a lot of energy and improve comfort.

These thermostats have been set to 68° F in the winter and 70° F in the summer.

Can you really feel a difference of two degrees on the thermostat in your office? Watch this video from ABC News on winter thermostat settings.

Some buildings are heated and cooled by steam and chilled water (instead of directly by electricity or natural gas). And in some buildings, Plant Services can centrally control the temperature set point. Thus, it is important to let them know if the building seems unusually cold or hot, instead of opening windows, bringing in fans or space heaters to regulate the temperature (which uses even more energy), or turning on the heat in the summer.

Air Vents and Space Heaters

Don’t block air vents with paper or cardboard or accidentally block vents with bookcases or other items. As much as 25% more energy is required to distribute air if your vents are blocked4.

Do not use space heaters. They are dangerous, waste energy, and are not allowed by Medical Center Policy.

Shades, Windows, and Clothing

Close shades and blinds during the hottest period of the day in the summer to keep heat out and cool air in. Open shades during the winter to take advantage of the natural heating. A major source of heat gain (increasing cooling demand in the summer) is the sun5.

  Avoid opening windows in air conditioned or heated areas. If you need to open the windows, it could be a sign that the heating and air conditioning system is not working properly.

Accept more seasonal indoor temperature settings to avoid expensive (and sometimes wasteful) settings, especially during curtailment periods or energy spikes. Dress for the season and in layers to help moderate your own personal temperature.

The End Result

If Vanderbilt decreases its electricity demand for heating and air conditioning by 15%, it could avoid consuming up to 3.6 megawatt-hours of electricity in a day on peak demand days!

But what does this mean?

3.6 megawatt-hours of electricity is the same amount of power consumed by 83 average-sized homes in Nashville in a day.

Check The Math

40% of power for heating and air conditioning x 60 megawatt-hours consumption per day (on peak days) = 24 megawatt-hours, and 15% of 24 megawatt-hours = 3.6 megawatt-hours

Energy consumption of one average house in Nashville for a day = 0.043 megawatt-hours6

References

1 Consortium For Energy Efficiency, Inc. Commercial Building Performance: Health Care Facilities, 2005.

2 Nashville Electric Service PowerNotes, July 2008.

3 Energy Star web page Proper Use Guidelines for Programmable Thermostats, 2008.

4 Energy Star web page Energy Star at Home and at Work August 2007.

5 ACC Environmental Consultants, Energy Saving Measures for Office Building Tenants.

6 Nashville Electric Service web page “Residential Rates“, 2013.

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Lighting

Lighting accounts for about 25% of the energy use at a typical health care facility1. Decreasing demand for power by decreasing lighting demand can go a long way in reaching our overall goal of a 15 percent reduction (or more) in power usage. Some suggestions for curbing our energy usage related to lighting are listed below.

Have you heard the myth that it uses more energy to turn a light on and off frequently than to just leave it on? MythBusters set out to bust this myth and were successful! Turning off lights is the way to save energy, even if the room is unoccupied only for a few minutes. Click Here to get Mythbusters’ details on how “lights off” trumps “leave lights on”.

Turning off lights during summer afternoons is especially important, when the demand for electricity is at its peak. Turning off lights and utilizing day-lighting strategies can reduce energy demand by up to 50 percent2.

Turning off lights during the day and at night provides benefits to patients and caregivers alike. According to a study by Dr. Anjali Joseph (2006)3:

  • Natural light has benefits over electric-light sources in regulating circadian rhythms and maintaining overall health
  • Exposure to natural light reduces depression in hospital patients
  • The length of hospital stays in cardiac intensive-care units is shorter for patients in sunny rooms versus dull rooms
  • Mortality rates in cardiac intensive-care units are lower in sunny rooms versus dull rooms
  • Patients exposed to increased sunlight take 22% fewer analgesic medications than the average patient
  • Exposure to intermittent artificial light by night-shift workers (versus bright artificial light) keeps circadian rhythms in proper alignment and reduces the frequency of gastric ulcers occurring among night-shift workers
  • Increased daylight has been linked to higher job satisfaction and work performance

The End Result

If Vanderbilt University Medical Center decreases its electricity demand for lighting by 15%, it could avoid consuming almost 1.3 megawatt-hours of electricity in a day on peak demand days!

But what does this mean?

1.3 megawatt-hours of electricity is the same amount of power consumed by 30 average-sized homes in Nashville in a day.

Check The Math

25% of power for heating and air conditioning x 60% of Vanderbilt’s energy budget x 60 megawatt-hours consumption per day (on peak days) = 9 megawatt-hours

15% of 9 megawatt-hours = 1.35 megawatt-hours

Energy consumption of one average house in Nashville for a day = 0.043 megawatt-hours4

References

1 Consortium For Energy Efficiency, Inc. Commercial Building Performance: Health Care Facilities, 2005.

2 Energy Center of Wisconsin, Energy Savings from Daylighting: A Controlled Experiment, Report No. 233-1, May 2008.

3 Joseph, Anjali, PhD. “The Impact of Light on Outcomes in Healthcare Settings”, The Center for Health Design, August 2006.

4 Nashville Electric Service web page “Residential Rates“, 2013.

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Computers and Office Equipment

Office equipment, computers, and appliances account for 20% of energy use at a typical hospital1. Unplugging office equipment not in use and using energy-savings settings can go a long way in reducing Vanderbilt’s overall energy demand by 15% or more. Reducing energy consumption also reduces operating costs: every dollar that a non-profit hospital saves on energy is equivalent to generating new revenues of $20, according to the U.S. Department of Energy2. Some suggestions for curbing our energy usage related to office equipment are listed below.

Computers

Use the “sleep mode” and “hibernate” settings on computers and monitors. Step-by-Step instructions related to enabling energy savings settings on computers are provided by Information Technology Services. If you need assistance on establishing sleep mode settings for computers and monitors, contact your LAN Manager.

Did you know …a computer in “sleep” mode or “hibernate” mode typically consumes less than 10% of its typical operating power consumption3?

Turning off your computer saves even more energy. Click here to read more about when it’s best to just power down. Even though there is a small surge in energy when a computer starts up, it’s still worth it3.

Furthermore, today’s computers are actually designed to withstand frequent shut-downs. Using energy savings settings and turning computers off extends the life of the computer4. If you are not allowed to turn off your computer, then turn off the monitor! Monitors can consume 30% of the energy from a typical system. An LCD monitor uses 30% less energy than an old-fashioned CRT monitor5.

Enabling sleep mode features for a monitor is just as important. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 2,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year can be saved for every 10 monitors that have its sleep mode features enabled6. That same amount of energy could provide power to a home in Nashville for six weeks6. Click Here to learn more about the EPA’s “Million Monitor Drive” for healthcare systems.

Office Equipment

Unplug battery chargers and equipment when not in use. Plug-in battery chargers for cell phones and other devices can use up to 20 times more energy than is stored in the device’s battery-even when not actively charging a device, according to an EnergyStar web site8.

Where feasible, unplug electronics when not in use. TVs, DVD players, entertainment systems, and similar devices draw power around the clock. See public service announcements on this topic from ABC News and Get Connected TV.

Utilize sleep mode settings for printers, copiers, and fax machines as well. Similar energy saving features (and misconceptions) surround computers and office equipment alike. Today’s imaging devices are designed to accommodate sleep mode settings and shut-downs, and using energy savings settings (along with turning machines off when they are not in use) extends the life of the device9. Even though there is a small surge in energy when an imaging device starts up, these practices save energy9.

Using the double-sided printing feature on EnergyStar-rated printers and copiers saves energy and reduces paper use significantly10. Even if your imaging equipment isn’t EnergyStar-rated, double-sided printing is still worth doing! It takes 10 times more energy to make a piece of paper than it does to copy an image to it10.

Also, use the automatic paper feeder on copiers and printers instead of the manual feed tray; manual feeds use more energy11. And make sure that the copier is properly sized for your area’s workload. A mid-volume printer can use 70% more energy than a small volume copier. Conversely, a mid-volume printer uses less energy than several small printers11. Link printers and copiers to a network and save electricity!

Refrigerators

When it comes time to replace that old refrigerator, purchase an EnergyStar-rated replacement. EnergyStar-qualified models use at least 20% less energy than their modern counterparts, and 40% of the energy compared to conventional models sold as recently as 200112.

Keep the refrigerators running efficiently by following these steps:

  • Set the refrigerator temperature at 36° to 39° F and freezer at 0° to 5° F13.
  • Check refrigerator and freezer gaskets annually for leaks and wear, and replace as needed14.
  • Regularly clean out “dust bunnies” from underneath and behind refrigerators14. Refrigerator coils that are covered with dust lose their efficiency. Also, regularly inspect the freezer for ice build-up and defrost as needed14.
  • Open doors on refrigerators as little as necessary14.

Remember: every dollar that a non-profit hospital saves on energy is equivalent to generating new revenues of $20, according to the U.S. Department of Energy2.

The End Result

If Vanderbilt University Medical Center decreases its power demand for computers, peripherals, and electronics by 15%, it could avoid consuming over one megawatt-hour of electricity a day on peak days!

But what does this mean?

That’s the same amount of electricity consumed by 25 average-sized homes in Nashville in a day.

Check The Math

20% of power for equipment x 60% of Vanderbilt’s energy budget x 60 megawatt-hours of consumption per day (on peak days) = 7.2 megawatt-hours

15% of 7.2 megawatt-hours = 1.08 megawatt-hours

Energy consumption of one average house in Nashville for a day = 0.043 megawatt-hours7

References

1 Consortium for Energy Efficiency, Inc. Commercial Building Performance: Health Care Facilities, 2005.

2 U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office, Building Technologies Program. Energy Smart Hospitals, 07/17/08

3 U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office, A Consumer’s Guide to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: When to Turn Off Computers, 07/22/08.

4 Energy Star Podcast No. 4.0, Computers, 10/25/07.

5 Dell Computers web page Frequently Asked Questions about Dell and the Environment, September 2003.

6 Energy Star web page Sleep in Good: For Computer Monitors and Your Bottom Line, September 2003.

7 Nashville Electric Service web page “Residential Rates“, 2013.

8Energy Star web page External Power Supplies, 2008 .

9 Energy Star Podcast No. 4.1, Imaging Equipment, 10/25/07.

10 Federal Electronics Challenge web page Energy Conservation with Energy Star, 05/26/06.

11 Eugene (Oregon) Water & Electric Board web page “Be an Energy Sleuth at Work”, Spring 2001.

12 Energy Star web page Refrigerators & Freezers 2008.

13 Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) web page “Energy Saving Tips”, 2008.

14 New England Gas Company, Energy Saving Tips, 2008.

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Miscellaneous Items

Lighting, heating & cooling, and office equipment consume a big part of Vanderbilt’s energy budget, and yet there are so many other activities that consume energy. Decreasing demand for power can be achieved by modifying practices in many areas. Think of One thing you can do each day to save energy.

Elevators

Use the elevator wisely and increase your use of the stairs. Consider these elevator facts:

  • Elevators generally use 3-5% of electricity consumed in a typical building, anywhere from 1,900 to 15,000 kilowatts per year1, around the same amount of power that the average residence consumes annually in Nashville2.
  • Elevators use electricity going up and going down; elevators are not “zero-net energy” machinery1.
  • Elevator use generates heat. Using elevators in hot summer months increases demand on air conditioning systems1.

Vanderbilt has hundreds of elevators. And as you know, there are significant health benefits to using the stairs!

The End Result

Can energy conservation really make a difference? Absolutely! When energy curtailment notices have been sent out in previous years, the Vanderbilt community has come together to reduce energy consumption by 8-12%. Let’s make this a year-long commitment and conserve energy by 15% or more!

You can make a difference! A recent EnergyStar study demonstrated that occupant behavior change in six key areas can lead to a 15% decrease in energy use3!

The six key areas in the EnergyStar study were: (1) turning off computers and peripherals, (2) turning off lights and harvesting daylight, (3) turning off task lighting (those little lights in library cubicles or desks), (4) using “sleep mode” on computers and monitors, (5) using EnergyStar-rated equipment & computers, and (6) having an energy conservation campaign.

But don’t stop with these six conservation practices; opportunities to save energy exist throughout your workplace!

References

1 Sachs, Harvey M. “Opportunities for Elevator Energy Efficiency Improvements”, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, April 2005.

2 Nashville Electric Service web page Residential Rates“, 2013.

3 Energy Star web page, “Best Practices to Improve Energy Performance”, 2005.

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