Survey: Healthcare Industry Shows Interest in Efficiency
The American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) and Johnson Controls, a global leader in creating smart and sustainable environments, announced new research on energy efficiency in healthcare. The survey shows that 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.
Johnson Controls and ASHE commissioned the 2008 Healthcare Energy Efficiency Indicator study, which surveyed 335 energy decision makers in the healthcare industry. The research was conducted in March 2008.
A parallel, multi-industry study, the Johnson Controls Energy Efficiency Indicator, polled 1,150 North American executives in partnership with the International Facility Management Association (IFMA).
Healthcare executives place greater importance on energy efficiency than others. Only 57 percent of respondents to the multi-industry study called energy efficiency "extremely important" or "very important," compared with 65 percent of healthcare respondents. Healthcare organizations are consequently more likely than companies in other industries to invest in energy efficiency.
Two thirds (67 percent) of healthcare organizations reported plans to spend capital on energy efficiency this year, compared to 56 percent in the multi-industry survey. Moreover, healthcare organizations will tolerate a longer payback period (4.2 years) on energy efficiency projects than other industries (3.6 years).
Survey respondents project energy price increases of 11 percent this year. On average, healthcare organizations will spend eight percent of their capital budgets and six percent of their operating budgets to conserve energy over the coming year. Their drive toward energy efficiency is motivated primarily by cost, with 59 percent of respondents saying that the need to control costs is a greater motivator than environmental responsibility.
"We live in an age of rising energy prices and growing environmental consciousness," said Clay Nesler, vice president of global energy and sustainability, Johnson Controls. "All industries are investing more aggressively to control energy costs and improve their sustainability. We believe this is a long term trend."
A majority of healthcare organizations have already invested in efficiency and cost control measures. "It takes a lot of energy to run a hospital," explained Dale Woodin, executive director of ASHE. "As healthcare organizations look for ways to control costs and improve patient care, they are engineering energy efficient solutions that will pay off handsomely in three or four years."
Healthcare has not adopted renewable energy technology to the same degree as other industries. More than two thirds (68 percent) of respondents to the multi-industry study have invested in renewable technologies or have actively considered investing. Only 38 percent of healthcare organizations reported similar interest in renewable energy. Included in this number, 25 percent of healthcare organizations have looked actively at solar energy, and significant numbers have shown interest in other technologies such as biomass, geothermal, and wind.
"Finding sites for energy generating equipment like solar panels and wind turbines can be a challenge for compact urban hospitals, but it is a challenge that can be overcome," notes Don Albinger, vice present of renewable energy, Johnson Controls. "Our job is to educate healthcare leaders about new, creative and cost effective techniques for incorporating renewable energy in space constrained settings."