Finding funding to make hospitals energy efficient

Source: HealthCare Design Magazine

News of the recent introduction of the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act (S.3535) by two members of the U.S. Senate, Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and John Hoeven, R-N.D., may not have received nationwide coverage, but it was warmly welcomed by nonprofit organizations and facilities that are sometimes struggling to walk the fine line of being cost effectively energy efficient and helping people. In particular, it would a step in the right direction for hospitals if the bill should pass.

As hospitals struggle to provide quality care to the many patients who pass through their doors, while having to work with less dollars and rising costs, there is the added burden of their physical structures that need continuous updating or overhauling.

The Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act, to be managed by the U.S. Department of Energy, would provide grants to nonprofit organizations, including hospitals that seek to retrofit their buildings to be more energy efficient. From HVAC systems to windows and doors, hospitals would be able to offset a portion of their energy efficiency costs.

There is no denying that hospitals are one of the largest consumers of energy in the country. According to ENERGY STAR, a program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, almost $8.8 billion is spent in energy in the healthcare sector. Nonprofit hospitals can increase their revenue on operating margins by approximately $20 for every dollar saved on energy.

As more hospitals initiate smaller renovation or replacement projects for old healthcare buildings with tighter budget constraints and more details like technology to include in the design, the legislation would be a boon to the nonprofit facilities.

Track the bill at http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/s3535