It takes extensive resources to run a hospital; they operate 24/7 and depend on energy-intensive equipment. These factors are one reason healthcare is the second largest commercial energy user in the United States. While energy and water use is necessary, we know that running our facilities more efficiently will help preserve natural resources and reduce our carbon footprint. Additionally, by improving our efficiency, it allows for cost savings we are able to pass on to our patients.
In 2010, we made a serious commitment by putting together a long-term energy and water reduction plan, with the ultimate goal of cutting usage by 30-35 percent. Because we are focused on energy efficiency with the assistance from the engineering firm Energy Services Group (ESG) we developed a comprehensive five-year energy reduction plan. The plan included:
Equipment Improvements: UnityPoint Health - Des Moines received a grant from the Iowa Office of Energy Independence for the installation of more energy efficient equipment for plan operations. This grant aided in energy savings by replacing two boilers at Iowa Lutheran Hospital as well as a chiller at Iowa Methodist Medical Center.
Efficient Lighting: While our employees make a point to turn out lights when they are not needed, in 2014 we completed an organization-wide energy efficient lighting retrofit, which is expected to save around $127,000 in electricity costs annually.
We took two steps in 2012 to conserve water on our campuses:
The first was to utilize water from a small lake on one of our properties to irrigate our grounds. The lake regenerates and we are able to be completely independent from public water and save 1.5 million gallons annually.
On another campus, we installed a new irrigation system that is linked to local weather stations and adjusts watering schedules based on precipitation. This change should reduce irrigation by about 40 percent.
A team of experienced professionals were assembled to design and build a sustainable hospital that minimizes the impact on our environment. Methodist West Hospital was built in 2009 with the environment in mind. Shive-Hattery, the project architect, won the Grand Place Award for Engineering Excellence from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Iowa for its work on Methodist West.
The concrete structure allows for less vibration, sound transmission and air pollution making it more energy efficient than steel and fireproofing.
The whole roof area reflects heat, which lessens the summer air conditioning load.
Methodist West uses 15 percent less energy and 20 percent less water than similar facilities.
High performance glass for the doors and windows, high efficiency boilers and LED efficient lights all maximize energy.
Healing gardens and green space focus on preserving the outdoor environment.