ASHE was named the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year by the Environmental Protection Agency.
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Although the COVID-19 pandemic required a shift in its focus, the American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) never lost sight of its goal to help hospitals become more sustainable. In fact, largely due to its longstanding Energy to Care Program, ASHE once again received the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year — Sustained Excellence Award from the Environmental Protection Agency.
This marks the fourth year in a row that ASHE earned the Sustained Excellence designation, and its sixth consecutive year as an ENERGY STAR Partner. The annual award acknowledges partners in various industry sectors that have helped to lead the way in energy efficiency.
The Energy to Care Program began in 2010 with a mission to provide proactive energy management tools and resources that address the unique needs of health care facilities. The Energy to Care Dashboard is a hallmark of the program and allows health care facilities to easily track energy usage. ASHE recently added the ability to track water usage and greenhouse gases using the simple and streamlined interface. Hospitals can record data and not only track internal goals and savings, but also track progress toward achieving Energy to Care awards, as well as their ENERGY STAR scores.
The dashboard adds participants each year. As of November 2021, more than 3,600 participate. Among participants, 585 have earned an ENERGY STAR score of 75 or more, and gross energy savings tracked through Energy to Care topped $550 million in 2021.
ASHE also estimates that the program has saved gross greenhouse gas emissions from an equivalent of nearly 1 million passenger vehicles driven for one year, carbon-dioxide emissions from nearly 550,000 homes and carbon sequestered from over 75 million tree seedlings grown for 10 years.
“There are many challenges that hospitals face when it comes to sustainability,” says Kara Brooks, ASHE senior associate director of sustainability. “Hospitals are the second-largest energy user among all building sectors in the United States because of their operational needs. They are 24/7, use energy-intensive equipment and have large ventilation requirements. Our mission is to develop and disseminate tools and resources out to hospitals, as well as advocate for them to make sure standards and regulations are in line with patient care.”
As ASHE continues its goal to both advocate for and educate hospitals, it is also expanding its program’s approach.
“Because of the push toward reducing carbon, we recognized that energy, while a very important piece, is not the only piece that goes into reducing health care’s carbon footprint,” Brooks continues. “That’s why we felt it was important to broaden our perspective.”