The 2008 Healthcare Energy Efficiency Indicator report shows that the healthcare industry seems to put a greater importance on many areas of energy efficiency than the overall building industry does. But the study also brings to light areas in which healthcare is lagging in comparison to other industries. For example, although healthcare companies are showing interest in energy-efficient features, they seem to not be as interested in getting their buildings green-certified. The report helps hospitals gage their programs against others and also points to overall positive conditions for those designers, engineers, and product manufacturers looking to leverage energy efficiency priorities. In March 2008, the study surveyed 335 energy decision makers in healthcare. It compares those survey results to a parallel, multi-industry study, the Johnson Controls Energy Efficiency Indicator, which polled 1,150 North American executives in partnership with the International Facility Management Association (IFMA).

Figure 1

Not only do healthcare executives place a higher priority on energy efficiency than executives in other industries, they are more likely to expect to make improvements over the coming year. Sixty-seven percent of the healthcare respondents plan to make energy efficiency improvements with capital expenditures in the next year, compared to 56% of companies in other industries. And 68% of healthcare companies expect to make energy efficiency improvements with operating budgets in the next year, compared to 61% of the general industry (figure 1). On average, healthcare companies are expecting to see a 6% reduction in energy consumption as a result of energy efficiency investments.

The survey also found that healthcare companies will tolerate a slightly longer payback period on energy efficiency investments than those in other industries. The average maximum return on investment period for healthcare was found to be 4.2 years, while the multi-industry group was at 3.6 years (figure 2). About one-fifth of both respondent groups will allow a longer payback period than they would’ve five years ago.

Figure 2

The survey questions are presented in four categories: emphasis on energy management measures, current and expected energy use, motivations for energy efficiency, and energy management measures already in place. Across the four categories, the data can be divided into three professional areas—facility administration and management, design, and engineering—although overlap between the areas exist.

Facility administration and management

The healthcare companies in the survey spend more on energy than companies in other industries. While a large section of respondents (31% of healthcare and 49% of multi-industry) simply do not know (or choose not to disclose), 31% of healthcare respondents say their company spent between $1 and $5 million and 28% of multi-industry respondents say less than $100,000. Combined with healthcare facilities’ 24/7 operations, the fact that the healthcare survey sample represents larger facility and staff sizes compared to the multi-industry sample may be responsible for the difference. At the same time, healthcare decision makers say a smaller percentage of their total expenses are for energy (7% on average), compared to the general sample (10% on average). Across both samples, respondents expect energy prices to increase significantly over the next year.

The survey found that those in the healthcare industry review energy consumption on average more than twice a month, nearly twice as frequent as those in other industries. On average, those in healthcare review energy use forecasts about once a month, which is a little more often than other industries. The study says cost savings is a greater motivation than environmental responsibility for both respondent groups (figure 3).

Figure 3


According to the Energy Efficiency Indicator report, healthcare companies appear to have little interest in green building certification. They are also more likely than their counterparts not to have a particular goal toward green buildings. The report finds across all industries few companies have any green-certified buildings (8% have at least one green certified), and the healthcare respondents were even less likely to have the same (4% have at least one). Yet 50% of the healthcare respondents have buildings with green elements and no certification, compared to 40% of their industry counterparts.

A large majority, 85%, of healthcare companies say that energy efficiency was or will be a top priority in their new construction or retrofit projects. At the same time, surprisingly, the report finds that the healthcare industry does not currently believe that green buildings will be very important in attracting and retaining future employees. For both sets of respondents, the average response to the perceived importance of green buildings in attracting and retaining new employees was “somewhat important.”

Although the healthcare respondents seem somewhat disinterested in being green certified, according to the report, they are more likely to have installed energy-saving glass and reroofed with white roofing, compared to their counterparts in other industries. Of the healthcare respondents:

· 35% installed energy-saving glass in windows,

· 19% increased building insulation,

· 27% reroofed with white roof covering to reduce heat gain,

· 2% installed a green roof, and

· 43% did none of these options.


Healthcare companies are more likely to adopt different systems-related measures to improve energy efficiency. The survey reveals that the majority of respondents have installed variable speed/frequency drives (VSD/VFD) or upgraded an existing building management system. Of the healthcare respondents:

· 55% have adjusted HVAC temperature controls to reduce time that heating/AC runs,

· 34% increased frequency of monitoring consumption,

· 67% have installed VSD/VFD,

· 16% have captured waste energy (such as heat and steam), and

· 4% have installed renewable energy systems (such as solar, wind, geo-thermal, or methane gas).

Few companies in general have a publically stated carbon-reduction goal, and healthcare companies are particularly unlikely to have one (5% of respondents).

For the multi-industry sample, the report found that minimizing dependence on traditional energies such as gas, oil, and electricity is on average “somewhat important” to the multi-industry respondents. For healthcare, the average response falls between “not very important” and “somewhat important.”

Read the original reports from Johnson Controls:

2008 Energy Efficiency Indicator

2008 Healthcare Energy Efficiency Indicator