Facilities Management—Energy Efficiency


U.S. hospitals use an average of 27.5 kilowatt-hours of electricity and 110 cubic feet of natural gas per square foot annually. Based on average energy prices (2005), this translates to a total energy cost of $3.71 per square foot. A typical breakdown of energy use is shown in the figure below. Healthcare facilities that have implemented extensive energy efficiency programs have been able to cut energy use by 20%. For a 150,000 ft2 hospital, this can mean annual savings of $111,300.

In addition to dollar savings, efficient energy use is good for the environment. Most of the energy generated by power plants in the United States comes from burning fossil fuels. When we use less energy, fewer fossil fuels are consumed, which means less pollution. To learn more about the environmental impacts of energy use, visit EPA’s Clean Energy and Climate Change web pages.

Increasing our energy efficiency also reduces our dependence on foreign sources of energy, thereby improving the reliability and security of the nation's energy supply system.

Energy Use in Hospitals

This section of HERC outlines ways of reducing energy use. Much of the information presented follows the system promoted by ENERGY STAR, a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. The goal of ENERGY STAR is to help us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. Visit Energy Star's healthcare section for additional details.


Over 850 hospitals and other healthcare facilities have participated in ENERGY STAR programs (see list). EPA offers a proven strategy for superior energy management with tools and resources to help each step of the way. Based on the successful practices of ENERGY STAR partners, these guidelines for energy management can assist your organization in improving its energy and financial performance while distinguishing your organization as an environmental leader.

Getting Started

The ENERGY STAR program involves a logical sequence of tasks that involves assessing your current practices/energy use, developing a plan, implementation, and evaluation. There is also an emphasis on continual improvement through reassessment and further change. A diagram of the process is shown in the figure below.

ENERGY STAR Management Steps


Guidelines for Energy Management

ENERGY STAR also promotes program recognition:

  • Providing recognition to those who helped the organization achieve these results motivates staff and employees and brings positive exposure to the energy management program.
  • Receiving recognition from outside sources validates the importance of the energy management program to both internal and external stakeholders, and provides positive exposure for the organization as a whole.

ENERGY STAR provides several means of external recognition:

  • ENERGY STAR partnership -- to partner with ENERGY STAR, your CEO, CFO, or top administrator must sign the partnership letter, committing your organization to continuous improvement of your energy efficiency. As part of this commitment, you agree to:
    • Measure, track, and benchmark your energy performance;
    • Develop and implement a plan to improve your energy performance, adopting the ENERGY STAR strategy; and
    • Educate your staff and the public about your partnership and achievements with ENERGY STAR
  • Healthcare facilities that meet widely recognized standards of performance, such as those established by ENERGY STAR, that reflect superior performance can achieve the ENERGY STAR building label
  • Healthcare facilities that surpass a variety of predetermined criteria, often both qualitative and quant