Hospital executives increasingly are turning to facility professionals to support patient care through reduced operational costs. This challenge is a tremendous opportunity for ASHE members to lead hospitals and care systems on the path toward greater efficiency and sustainability.
One of the first steps facility professionals can take to begin the journey toward sustainability is having a conversation with the hospital leadership team, stressing the importance of efficiency efforts. A new ASHE report on the value of sustainability recently was sent to health care executives around the country as part of the American Hospital Association's Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence (HPOE) program. ASHE members can download the report at www.hpoe.org/environmentalsustainability and can use the publication as a starting point.
The HPOE report features several examples of hospitals that have reduced operating costs through greater efficiency, freeing up more resources for patient care. For example, Memorial Hermann health system saved $47 million over a five-year period through energy efficiencies. The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences saved so much money through one project that it was able to create 60 new beds, remodel five operating suites and more.
Once hospital leaders make a commitment to sustainability, it is important to create a culture of change dedicated to pursuing efficiency projects. ASHE has several tools and resources that can help members make their hospitals as efficient as possible.
The revamped Energy to Care program, formerly called the Energy Efficiency Commitment program, allows participants to benchmark their organization's energy use data and analyze performance with a new and robust dashboard made possible through support from Johnson Controls. By measuring and analyzing data, facility professionals can identify areas for improvement that will create the greatest savings. The Energy to Care program also offers awards for hospitals that reduce energy use. Join the Energy to Care program now at www.energytocare.com.
Another important resource for facility professionals is the Sustainability Roadmap, a comprehensive website that features numerous how-to guides for efficiency projects. Step-by-step instructions help professionals to complete projects, and talking points and case studies are available to help leaders decide which projects they want to pursue first. Visit www.sustainabilityroadmap.org to learn more.
ASHE members also can take advantage of free continuing education regarding energy efficiency through Schneider Electric's Energy University. ASHE has created specially designed tracks for facility professionals interested in energy management. More information about that program is available online at www.ashe.org/energyuniversity.
All of these tools can help facilities become more efficient if professionals use them. ASHE President Philip C. Stephens, CPE, CHFM, FASHE, recently urged ASHE members to step up to the challenge.
"ASHE members have the opportunity to support hospital missions by turning operational costs into resources for patient care," Stephens said. "I am hopeful that you will join me in implementing sustainability efforts that add value to your organization."
By Deanna Martin, communications manager for ASHE.
Important monographs available
ASHE makes important resources available to members. Following are two recently released monographs that can be accessed by ASHE members as free PDFs at www.ashe.org/resources/management_monographs.
• Life Safety Code Comparison. The 2012 edition of the National Fire Protection Association's Life Safety Code offers new design and compliance options for health care facilities that didn't exist in previous editions. This ASHE monograph provides an exhaustive list of the changes in the new edition and a detailed comparison with the 2000 and 2009 editions.
• Room Ventilation and Airborne Disease. This ASHE monograph examines research on how room ventilation affects airborne-disease transmission in health care facilities. Farhad Memarzadeh, Ph.D., PE, examines findings that consider the effects of air changes per hour on infection transmission.
Design guidelines available to industry through ASHE
The 2014 editions of the Facility Guidelines Institute's Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospitals and Outpatient Facilities and the Guidelines for Design and Construction of Residential Health, Care, and Support Facilities can be purchased through ASHE at www.ASHEstore.com.