Georgia Health Sciences Medical Center has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s prestigious Energy Star designation, the national symbol for superior energy efficiency and environmental protection. GHS Medical Center is the only hospital in Georgia that holds this designation.
To qualify, the hospital must perform in the top 25 percent of its peers nationwide in energy efficiency and meet strict performance levels set by the EPA. Facilities included in the Energy Star designation are the adult hospital, the Critical Care Center, GHS Children’s Medical Center and the Medical Office Building.
“This is an incredible accomplishment, considering the age of the facilities and the way in which hospital systems have to be operated to maintain a patient-centric environment,” said Phil Howard, Vice President of Facilities Services at Georgia Health Sciences. “Achieving this designation is the result of years of planning and a tireless commitment to efficient systems operations and energy management.”
GHS formed a Utilities Management Committee in 2006 to track energy costs and consumption and to develop a more sustainable operations plan based on EPA benchmarks. Improving energy efficiency at a hospital can be challenging because of the complex and vital services provided. Medical equipment is often energy-intensive and frequently runs around the clock.
The committee identified several improvement projects that would make the hospital “greener,” including a lighting retrofit and variable speed drive and steam trap replacements. These improvements saved $344,000 in energy bills the first year alone. Additionally, the hospital has reduced its electrical consumption by 6 percent and natural gas consumption by 8.5 percent.
“We are proud to have earned Energy Star designation,” said David S. Hefner, CEO of Georgia Health Sciences Medical Center. “We have an obligation to be fiscally responsible and to actively promote a healthier community. Everyone benefits when we reduce our environmental footprint.”
About GHS Medical Center
The 478-bed Georgia Health Sciences Medical Center is operated by the Georgia Health Sciences Health System, a not-for-profit corporation that manages the clinical operations of Georgia Health Sciences University. The health system also includes a Critical Care Center, housing the region’s only Level I trauma center ; the 154-bed Children’s Medical Center, providing the highest level of pediatric critical care and neonatal intensive care; and more than 80 outpatient clinics that provide primary and specialty care inside the Medical Office Building.
About Energy Star
Energy Star was introduced by the EPA in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. The Energy Star for commercial buildings was established in 1999, and has since collectively saved billions in energy costs. On a scale of 1 to 100, commercial and industrial facilities that achieve a score of 75 or higher are eligible for the Energy Star, indicating that they are among the top 25 percent of facilities in the country for energy performance. Commercial buildings that can earn the Energy Star include hospitals, offices, bank branches, financial centers, retailers, courthouses, hotels, K-12 schools, medical offices, supermarkets, dormitories and warehouses. In addition to these buildings, the Energy Star label is found on more than 50 kinds of products, industrial buildings and new homes.