The new Sky Tower at University Hospital includes an array of energy-saving technology and building materials.

University Health System will reap financial rewards for investing in energy-efficient mechanical equipment and building materials installed in its new 10-story Sky Tower at University Hospital, San Antonio.

The energy-efficient equipment and materials will enable the new facility to reduce annual energy use by 11 kWh, which translates to an estimated $900,000 per year, says Mark Webb, the system's chief operating officer.

Part of that energy-saving investment was paid for with a $500,000 rebate from CPS Energy, which the local electric and gas utility company issued to University Health System in September.

The 1 million-square-foot Sky Tower includes 420 private rooms, 35 surgical suites on two floors and an expanded emergency department.

A variety of energy-efficiency improvements were included in the project, including a high-efficiency HVAC system, LED lighting, daylighting that automatically reduces the use of electrical light and high-efficiency building materials like low-emissivity windows.

The new building was designed to consume 20 percent less energy than a similar building constructed to local building codes, according to CPS.

Other sustainable features include a system that collects rainwater in cisterns for use in the landscape. Also, the San Antonio Water System has extended its recycled water lines to the hospital for use in landscaping and the central cooling plant.

CPS Energy's incentives for new commercial construction are based on "whole building performance." To receive a rebate, a building needs to be at least 15 percent more energy-efficient than City of San Antonio building codes.

"University Hospital has taken energy-efficiency to a new level — creating a project that is 20 percent more energy-efficient than a similar project built to normal codes. This is an exceptional project and a model for others to follow," says Jelynne LeBlanc Burley, CPS Energy's executive vice president and chief delivery officer.

University Hospital also joined CPS Energy's Demand Response Rewards program. The hospital voluntarily reduces its electricity load on days when conservation may be needed to ensure a reliable grid.

Actions taken through a customized energy-management program can include adjusting chilled water temperatures, reducing lighting, decreasing pump speeds and other initiatives.