Best Practices to Achieve Decarbonization Goals in Healthcare

Because they are such high energy consumers, healthcare institutions must commit to climate investments now to improve energy efficiency and achieve decarbonization deadlines in the future. The complex nature of these institutions, including large, sophisticated buildings, diagnostic and therapeutic medical equipment, transportation, and food production and waste significantly contribute to their high energy usage.

In addition, the continuous requirement for controlled, sterile environments to ensure patient safety adds to their carbon footprint. Recognizing their environmental impact, healthcare institutions should start to embrace decarbonization initiatives now, if they haven’t already. Hospitals typically have long lifespans – some operating in their communities for decades or even centuries. Because of this, decisions that are made today in design, construction, and operation can lock in safe, sustainable emissions for many decades to come.

Best practices for buildings to implement today to help prepare for a more sustainable tomorrow include:

  • Educate and collaborate amongst leadership, stakeholders, and team members. First defining your vision and goals, then communicating to your team is important for success and buy-in, in particular. Inclusion ensures recommendations and changes are supported throughout the organization.
  • Share your plan, progress, and results. Increased visibility encourages adoption and support across all levels of the organization
  • Digitalize and connect building systems with an Internet of Things (IoT) solution allows hospitals to obtain critical information to make smarter, data-driven decisions. IoT-enabled devices that allow connectivity of critical assets across essential infrastructure, combined with control software, advanced analytics, and services to inform and enable predictive, condition-based maintenance programs.
  • Modernize building management systems (BMS) to optimize performance of critical HVAC, lighting, and other electrical systems to reduce energy consumption and provide healthier healing environments.
  • Identify and correct power quality and other related issues such as harmonics, sags, swells, and disturbances by equipping facility teams with energy and power monitoring infrastructure. This includes metering, integrated digital solutions, advanced analytics, and services.
  • Install energy-efficient electrification of central heating systems. For central cooling plants, utilize chillers with magnetic-bearing compressors and variable speed drives that operate at a high efficiency.
  • Maximize onsite energy generation and protect infrastructure against unstable grid power supply with end-to-end smart grid solutions such as a renewable energy Microgrid.
  • Implement grid-integrated control systems to optimize building energy storage and increase demand flexibility.


Transitioning the Healthcare Sector to Net-Zero Emissions

Implementing best practices in building operations and maintenance (O&M) can have a significant impact on emissions reduction.

For larger, more complex facilities like healthcare institutions, this starts with developing energy benchmarking and building performance standards. This process involves tracking a facility’s energy usage and comparing it against its historical performance or industry standards. Energy benchmarking allows hospitals to identify inefficiencies on campus and set realistic standards and goals for improvement.

In addition, the process assists in the development of methodologies and practices to minimize or even prevent GHG emissions during installation, operation, maintenance, retrofit, and decommissioning of buildings and their systems.  Furthermore, advanced metering provides live-data information into overall energy performance as well as power quality to reduce unplanned outages, premature equipment failures, and reduce overall electrical consumption as a result of poor power quality.

On top of establishing energy benchmarks and building performance standards, healthcare institutions should consider upgrading old, energy-intensive building equipment to smart, high-efficiency equipment. Implementing intelligent heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment that includes smart sensors that integrate with building automation systems can immediately optimize energy use.

IoT technology and Smart sensors provide facility staff with actionable insights into daily operations and allow for more accurate control and adjustments of temperature, humidity, and airflow. Harvesting this technology enables predictive, condition-based maintenance programs which can save on both maintenance and operational costs. In addition, installing energy-efficient boilers, chillers, heat pump technology, LED lighting, and power quality correction can lead to substantial energy savings. Although the initial investment may be higher, the long-term operational cost reductions prove to be a smart financial investment.

In conclusion, as essential components of our society, healthcare institutions must take a proactive approach to reduce their energy consumption and lessen their environmental impact. The global shift towards decarbonization is not just a trend, it is a critical aspect in ensuring a sustainable and resilient healthcare system. By recognizing the extreme implications of the energy-intensive aspects of their operations, healthcare institutions can contribute significantly to the global effort to combat climate change, ensuring a healthier planet for current and future generations.

Stark Tech is Your Sustainability Partner

At Stark Tech, our commitment to a sustainable and healthier future goes beyond innovation; it’s about collaboration. We proudly partner with hospitals and engineering firms to forge a path towards sustainability, decarbonization, and electrification in healthcare facilities. Our dedicated and experienced team works tirelessly with our valued customers, ensuring not only compliance with standard building codes but also the creation of environments that prioritize the well-being of patients and staff. Through this unwavering partnership, we are not just shaping the future of healthcare infrastructure, we are fostering a healthier, more sustainable world for all. Together, we’re not just changing the industry, we’re transforming lives.