Benchmarked, a new energy blog series, examines local businesses who have used EPA’s Portfolio Manager to track energy use.
Company/Property Name: Adventist HealthCare, Inc.
Name and Title: James Lee, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
How many buildings do you manage?
Adventist HealthCare’s portfolio is approximately 1.9 million square feet which includes 46 buildings, both owned and leased. In ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager, there are 4 owned properties currently being benchmarked.
What kinds of building uses are in your buildings?
Our buildings are mainly hospitals, medical centers, and offices.
When did your company begin benchmarking?
Adventist HealthCare began benchmarking in 2009 to further its environmental stewardship initiatives.
Why did you begin benchmarking?
Adventist HealthCare has been a leader in the sustainable healthcare community for decades. We continually strive to become even more proactive in allocating resources to ensure the best healthcare experience for all who seek our services. Benchmarking allows us to track and report out on steady, incremental improvement of the energy performance at each property.
Who has done (in the past) and does (if different now) your benchmarking in Portfolio Manager?
A service and product provider, AtSite, enters data and manages the Portfolio Manager account in order to ensure an objective look and assessment of all the measures initiated by Adventist HealthCare and regulatory compliance.
How has benchmarking your energy use changed the way you manage your portfolio? What do you do now that you didn’t do before?
Through benchmarking, we have an improved way to see and understand trending performance, as well as understand changes in the space use and building characteristics over time. The ultimate goal is to utilize the data within Portfolio Manager to drive strategic decision making as it relates to operations, physical plant performance, and long term strategic planning.
For example, by benchmarking the power plant’s performance, we were able to justify an efficiency upgrade project on chillers that ended up saving 800,000 kWh and $100,000 per year, while improving comfort and climate control.
Have you done anything that drastically improved a building score? If yes, what?
In 2013, Adventist HealthCare established an Efficiency Investment Fund (EIF) to be managed by AtSite, Inc. as a stand-alone, return-based financing mechanism to direct investments into efficiency projects. The fund has generated electricity and gas savings as well as water and other resource efficiency projects. Due to the EIF projects, we were able to reduce the 2015 budget by 10% for electricity, 9% for gas, and 3% for water. Sample projects funded by the EIF include:
Adventist HealthCare also utilizes InSite, a building performance platform, to monitor utility consumption on a daily basis. This allows for a quick response to anomalies to maximize efficiency in building performance and ensure superior Energy Star scores.
Finally, several facilities have significant capital improvements underway as a result of a Facility Condition Assessment (FCA). Although the construction has an impact on energy performance today, we anticipate even greater efficiencies long term.
What building’s energy performance are you most proud of, and why?
Adventist HealthCare is particularly proud of Adventist HealthCare’s Physical Health & Rehabilitation facility as being a model within our system for improvement overall. The dedicated employees in this facility made a sincere commitment to the implementation of Efficiency Conservation Measures (ECMs) and strategic management of the facility.
The hospital completed five projects targeting different comprehensive goals. Adventist HealthCare made an initial investment of $137,050 to fund the improvements. As the annual savings generated from the project are approximately $52,269, payback should be completed in 2.4 years. The result is an optimized healthcare experience for patients and a healthier work place environment for Adventist HealthCare staff.
What advice would you give for anyone benchmarking for the first time?
We would recommend involving several different teams within your company, not just facilities staff, when starting to benchmark. Understanding the way the buildings operate is a holistic exercise, not just about square feet or energy use. By involving multiple groups, you are able to identify all possible Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) that will drive enhanced building operations and a higher score.
Also, setting reasonable and realistic goals and celebrating incremental improvement is important. Depending on the size or type of an asset, an increase in the ENERGY STAR rating by 5 points could be a major achievement and should be celebrated!