After taking steps to optimize the integration of its building automation system (BAS) with other engineered systems, the University of Florida (UF) Health Shands Hospital, Gainesville, saved $5 million over a five-year period and continues to reap the financial benefits of actions taken at its campus.
Along with ongoing savings from the optimization, the health system also improved operational and facility staff efficiency by reducing building system alarms by 80%and work orders up to 60% through tighter system controls. Patient comfort improved at the same time.
A key to achieving the savings and comfort involved learning how to utilize the existing BAS to obtain the most useful data possible from tens of thousands of sensors embedded throughout mechanical systems on the 3-million-square-foot campus. Staff now troubleshoot system problems as, or even before, they occur.
The staff partnered with consultant Sanjyot V. Bhusari, P.E., Affiliated Engineers Inc., Gainesville, who was experienced at integrating BAS to develop facilities into so-called “smart buildings.” He helped Dykes and Pollitt to create software programs to maximize system operations.
The facility team next optimized the BAS and controls in the UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital, actions that netted a $700,000 energy savings in the first year of the project, for just the cost of programming, Dykes says. They will apply energy-saving lessons learned when a new hospital opens later this fall.
The American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) of the American Hospital Association recognized two UF Health facilities in 2015 — UF Health Shands Psychiatric Hospital and the UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital South Tower — with an Energy to Care Award for cutting energy use and reducing operational costs.