Hospital Facilities’ Hidden Benefits from Energy Efficiency

Consumers Energy
October 01, 2018 - 2:00 pm
Hospital Hall

(Image Credit: Dreamstime)


To give patients the highest quality of care, area hospitals need to keep their operating and maintenance (O&M) costs at a minimum. Detroit-area hospitals can improve their profitability, increase productivity and improve patient care by making their facilities more energy-efficient. These upgrades can help them dedicate more of their budgets to staffing, inventory and research.


Increasing comfort and safety with an HVAC overhaul

The Centers for Disease Control’s current guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities note that a hospital’s heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system performs four important functions:

  • Controlling the spread of odors
  • Maintaining temperature and humidity at a comfortable level for patients and staff
  • Filtering out contaminated air
  • Reducing the exposure of airborne contaminants such as pathogens from infected patients

However, to perform those critical tasks, an HVAC system needs to be at optimal functionality, with its filters and other service parts replaced regularly. Consequently, hospitals that have aging HVAC systems should make it a priority to invest in an upgrade. New HVAC systems are not only more energy-efficient and therefore cost-effective than older systems, but they also offer more precise levels of temperature control and air circulation.

While Michigan medical facility administrators might be understandably wary of the costs involved, Consumers Energy has an HVAC rebate program that can make both tune-ups and full upgrades much more affordable.


The financial benefits of LEDs

As the National Institutes of Health (NIH) article notes, light emitting diode (LED) lights offer hospitals a number of financial benefits. As LEDs are 90 percent more energy-efficient than incandescent lights, upgrading a medical facility by replacing all of its older bulbs will have a significant impact on its energy bills. Moreover, the 50,000 hour lifetime of the LEDs means that they won’t need to be replaced nearly as often as standard incandescent lights.


The medical benefits of LEDs

In addition to their cost-saving benefits, LEDs can also help hospitals improve their standard of care. As reported by the NIH, the excellent color rendering offered by LEDs will help hospital staff quickly and accurately examine and diagnose patients. Additionally, a study conducted by the Center for Health Design found that non-fluorescent electric lighting can relieve nurse and physician stress by reducing errors in critical areas such as medication dispensing.

That same study also found that artificial lighting can improve patient health outcomes. Consistent exposure to bright non-fluorescent light had a meaningful, positive impact on reducing depression, decreasing the length of inpatient treatment, decreasing stress and agitation, and lessening the need for analgesic medication by as much as 22 percent. When coupled with the financial benefits and available rebate offers, a facility-wide LED upgrade would be a quality investment for any Michigan hospital.


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