Health care facilities managers are integral to effective energy management, particularly in multi-facility systems where they are most familiar with the day-to-day operations of buildings.
This detailed knowledge of their facilities means that facilities managers are in a position to push sustainability beyond just energy procurement strategies to a focus on actual reductions in energy use and carbon footprints, says Richie Stever, CHFM, CLSS-HC, director of operations and maintenance at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.
Rick Sanchez, NBT, from Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), is the facility manager at Adventist Health St. Helena in St. Helena, Calif., and he says his work with Joshua Taylor, PE, CEM, energy manager at JLL, is very collaborative.
“I look at where we can improve energy efficiency, and then I will propose an idea to the energy manager,” Sanchez says. “If he thinks it’s a worthwhile endeavor, I do the research to see if the energy savings actually pencils out.”
Energy managers and facilities managers in multi-facility systems each approach energy management at different scales, which allows them to identify a variety of potential energy-efficiency strategies.
Sanchez says he spearheads smaller projects at his facility, while Taylor’s big-picture perspective allows him to implement larger projects, such as solar installations throughout the Adventist Health system.
Facilities managers also play an important role in conveying information to the leadership of their organizations to ensure projects are funded and move forward.
“There’s no better advocate at the C-suite level than facilities directors,” Stever says. “They can identify the best recommendations, and facilities managers have rapport with their leadership and can put energy savings in terms that they understand.”
Facilities managers should leverage the knowledge and skills of energy managers to foster the best energy-efficiency strategies for their organizations, says Edmund Lydon, CHFM, FASHE, senior director of facilities and support services at Beverly Hospital, a member of the Beth Israel Lahey Health system, in Beverly, Mass.
But energy management resources are widely available to help facilities managers in all types of health care systems, he says.
“There’s enough of a roadmap there for any facility manager to grasp and move sustainability forward,” Lydon says. “Whether you’re a small critical access hospital or a medium-sized or large hospital, you should be able to adopt a program and share it with your leaders to drive it home. Really the question is, why wouldn’t you?”