Participants in a treasure hunt at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington, Ill., discuss findings.

Image by Ed Avis

An Energy Star Treasure Hunt may end with a report, but the real work lies ahead. Hospitals should document every suggestion made during the hunt — even those that were not part of the report — and set up a way to track them.

Facilities leaders at OSF HealthCare in central Illinois created a tracking form to manage the solutions to energy-saving opportunities discovered during the two treasure hunts they conducted, says Patrick Costello, manager of energy and sustainability.

Among the fixes that have been completed at the OSF facilities since their hunts are the installation of a new high-efficiency burner in one boiler, improvements in scheduling setbacks for lights and air handlers, and replacement of insulation on steam heat piping.

In addition, at Holy Family Medical Center, the OSF HealthCare facility that was evaluated in the second treasure hunt, EnergyMisers devices were installed on vending machines. These devices, which were recommended by an outside supplier who participated in the treasure hunt, shut down the vending machines when they’re not in use, but cycle them on to keep the beverages cool.

“After the rebate from the utility, these devices only cost us $60 each to install, but we calculate they’ll save us about $600 per machine annually,” said Michael Gorham, manager of facilities at Holy Family. “We initially installed them on the three vending machines here at Holy Family, but now we’re implementing them throughout the region, to about 12 more machines.”

Ed Avis is a freelance writer based in Chicago.