Published on : March 01, 2011

Sharp Healthcare Leads the Way in Energy and Resource Management

Sharp Healthcare Leads the Way in Energy and Resource Management

As the primary healthcare provider in San Diego County, Sharp Healthcare is not only setting the standard for healthcare in the region but also energy and resource management.

Sharp HealthCare is a not-for-profit integrated regional health care delivery system based in San Diego, California. Sharp’s facilities include four acute-care hospitals, three specialty hospitals, and numerous medical offices and support services buildings. 

The Green Initiative

In January 2009, Sharp’s executive management team launched a system wide Green Initiative to proactively manage the energy and resource performance of the system’s facilities infrastructure.  According to Vice President, Business Development Donna Serpico-Thompson, the Green Initiative “affirms Sharp’s commitment to the environment, and therefore the health of the communities we serve.” 

Her first step was to gather representatives from each of their hospitals, health plan and medical groups.  These “Green Team” members ensured that their efforts and findings would be communicated throughout the rest of the Sharp community  Reporting to the Green Team is the Natural Resource Sub-committee, comprised of the engineering managers from each of their entities, facilities development, and business development. 

To aid the Green Team in meeting its energy goals, Sharp also participated in San Diego Gas & Electric’s (SDG&E®) Healthcare Energy Efficiency Program (HEEP), a program administered by SDG&E through a contract awarded to Willdan Energy Solutions (aka Intergy Corporation).  The HEEP program offers a full range of energy efficiency services to assist customers with identification of and financing for energy conservation measures.

Phases l and ll of the Energy Assesment for Cost Saving Initiative

Starting in May, 2009, and through the following month, HEEP assisted Sharp with energy assessment activities at its hospitals and medical clinics. The HEEP program staff conducted energy assessments which included a review of ENERGY STAR® ratings and a Phase I energy audit to identify cost-effective energy conservation measures. 

The Phase I energy audit identified a total of 73 energy conservation measures (ECMs) across three hospitals and two ECMs for the medical clinics. From these, 25 ECMs were identified for a Phase II analysis. This more comprehensive analysis generated detailed information on energy cost savings, project installation costs, financial incentives available through SDG&E’s HEEP, and simple payback on the potential ECMs.  This provided the Natural Resource Sub-Committee with the necessary financial analysis for decisions about capital requests for ECMs.

Results of the Phase II analysis revealed five projects with a simple payback of five years or less. Eight offered longer payback periods but provide promising returns in the long term. The conservation measures not only include retrofitting lighting and other infrastructure updates but also took into consideration energy use by vending machines, computers and servers.

Taking advantage of system level conservation measures also uncovered energy savings in technology. For example, features already found in workstations running Windows and Mac operating systems will also cut the amount of energy used by each PC in half. Configuring workstations to use Computer Power Management Features to place monitors and computers into low-power sleep mode saves energy, money and helps protect the environment. Deploying this feature can result in savings of $25-$75 per workstation.

One project in particular stands out. The recommendation to retrofit lighting in its Chula Vista facility stands to reap $151,000 in savings annually. This represents a seven-month return on investment.

Improvements in Energy Performance

Using ENERGY STAR’s benchmarking tool, Portfolio Manager, Sharp monitored the ENERGY STAR ratings of its facilities as changes were implemented.  Results showed improved ES ratings, earning Chula Vista an ENERGY STAR® label. In addition, results for Sharp Grossmont and Sharp Memorial Hospitals identified them as eligible for the ASHE and ENERGY STAR Energy Efficiency Challenge (E2C) award for facilities that show an increase in energy performance of 10% or more annually.  Sharp Grossmont and Sharp Memorial both exceeded this with a 20% improvement in their energy performance.

Facility

Award

Eligibility

Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center

ENERGY STAR Building Label

Awarded to buildings with an energy score of 75 or higher in Portfolio Manager.

Sharp Grossmont Hospital and Sharp  Memorial Hospital

ASHE and ENERGY STAR Energy Efficiency Challenge (E2C)

Awarded to buildings demonstrating energy performance improvements of 10 percent or more annually.

Since undertaking its Sustainability Initiative, Sharp has earned recognition for improving the energy performance of two of its hospitals.

According to Serpico-Thompson, every month Sharp tracks the ENERGY STAR ratings of each hospital and Sharp owned buildings are included in the ES database. This “helps us keep on track and monitor utilization every month. All of our hospitals have seen improvement over the last year.”


The bottom line: the resulting recommendations stand to save the hospital system approximately $1 million by 2012. This is in stark contrast to the $2 million in additional energy costs Sharp would have incurred had it not chosen to take these steps.

“Due to multiple energy initiatives being implemented at the same time, it is difficult to track each project’s actual impact to energy savings and thus its individual return on investment.  Each project implemented was expected to save in kilowatt hours and dollars, thus providing a resulting increase in ES scores,”Serpico-Thompson commented.  “Sharp has realized the improvement in ES scores over the last year.  This means that each project is positively affecting Sharp’s long-term impact on the environment and reducing energy costs,”

About the Company

Willdan Energy Solutions provides overall project management for SDG&E’s Healthcare Energy Efficiency Program (HEEP). Julie Brown, project manager with the Putnam Price Group, is a member of the HEEP team and authored this article.

The Healthcare Energy Efficiency Program (HEEP) is funded by California utility customers and administered by San Diego Gas & Electric Company, Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission, through a contract awarded to Willdan Energy Solutions (aka Intergy Corporation).  California customers who choose to participate in this program are not obligated to purchase any additional services offered by the contractor.

For more information on the program please contact Alex Araiza at Willdan Energy Solutions via email at aaraiza@willdan.com.