Sustainability for industry is recognition that resources such as energy fuels and water are finite. With this each organization must do its part to help preserve the world’s resources as well as lower their organization’ carbon footprint.
Why Hospital Sustainability is Important
Hospitals are just one industry that has a tremendous opportunity to improve the way in which they consume energy and water. Hospital energy hogs such as lighting, HVAC, kitchens and the use of power to operate specialized equipment are all opportunities for improved consumption.
“Hospitals are among the nation’s most complex and energy-intensive facilities…new energy efficiency strategies hold the promise of reduced costs for the sector, as U.S. hospitals spend over $5 billion annually on energy, often equaling 1 to 3 percent of a typical hospital’s operating budget or an estimated 15 percent of profits.”
By addressing sustainability opportunities hospitals are also helping their own bottom line because the costs of power and water has skyrocketed over the last decade. Fortunately, there are some excellent tools available to help hospitals improve on their carbon footprint.
Hospital Maintenance Sustainability Tools
The importance of keeping assets in optimal working condition is that when properly maintained equipment will require less energy to operate. The best known tool available for improving hospital maintenance is a computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) system.
“HVAC systems in typical commercial buildings are responsible for more than 40 percent of total energy use. Keeping HVAC systems running properly and at peak efficiency is the first step in managing facility energy use.”
Source: James Piper, P.E.
A CMMS addresses energy use by ensuring that all hospital assets are kept in prime operating condition. Better hospital maintenance management is accomplished with a CMMS as a result of:
- Accurate records of hospital assets including location, descriptions, date purchased, serial number, expected useful life, and condition.
- Scheduled preventive maintenance on energy consuming assets as well as plumbing, water filters, kitchen equipment and so on.
- Automated work management tools for submitting work requests and generating work orders.
- The ability to schedule inspections of critical assets.
- Work history tracking of all asset maintenance.
“Hospitals can expect between 10-20 percent energy cost reductions from tune-ups and improved operations. Most efficiency investments yield returns of 10 percent or more.”
Source: Legacy Case Study
These are not the only benefits of a hospital CMMS for maintenance. In addition to lowering energy costs, labor and repair costs are also reduced. This is because there are fewer surprises enabling hospital maintenance teams to be proactive reducing emergency repairs, overtime and repair expenses.
The Hospital Capital Budget Impact
Beyond improved labor, energy and repair costs hospital CMMS can have a very significant impact on hospital capital budgets. When equipment is maintained properly there is less wear and tear on them. This extends the useful life of assets.
In contrast, poorly maintained hospital assets will need to be replaced before their expected useful lifecycle is reached. When this happens hospitals must use monies originally designated for new high medical devices or other improvements to replace high value equipment before it should be.
Some examples of high dollar assets ranging from several hundred thousand to several million include:
- HVAC, cooling tower towers etc.
- Water filtration systems
- Roof replacement
Clearly, neglecting these assets can be an expensive proposition. If you add to that the cost of motor replacements, corrosion issues, plumbing, pipes and fittings the cost of operations can explode. Implementing a CMMS mitigates capital replacement issues.
Finally, a CMMS solution handle tracking the work history of assets can produce a CapEx management report with a timeline of when assets will need to be replaced. Altogether, a hospital CMMS system is the cornerstone for improved sustainability.