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Hospital Energy Use Stays Flat, Water Use Drops in 2014

March 30, 2015

New technology driving increased demand on healthcare systems.

While many industries in the U.S. are decreasing their energy and water consumption as a result of rising utility prices and environmental concerns, a new report shows that hospitals have not kept up with the trend, using about as much power as they did 20 years ago.

The Grumman/Butkus Associates 2014 Hospital Benchmarking Survey examined energy and water usage patterns in 102 U.S. hospitals. Although fossil fuel energy use intensity is on the decline, electricity demand has stayed largely the same. The survey’s authors point to the introduction of more energy-intensive electronic imaging equipment, as well as the switch to electronic records, as reasons that electricity needs have not dropped.

While energy consumption stayed flat, the survey showed marked improvement in hospital water use intensity, seeing the average gallons/sf/year dropping from nearly 70 in 2001 to barely above 50 in 2013. Some of the survey’s respondents, representing over 73 million square feet of facilities, also measured energy cost per bed in their buildings. They found that the average cost was $9,000 per staffed bed without water costs and only $1,050 per staffed bed when respondents included water. The full report is available here.

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