ASHE’s Energy to Care Treasure Hunt events were the basis for its new HealQuest program.

Image courtesy of ASHE

Knowing where to start a sustainability effort — or how to leverage it into operational cost-savings — can be a daunting task. Drawing on lessons learned from the Energy to Care® Treasure Hunt Program, the American Society for Health Care Engineering’s (ASHE’s) new HealQuest program trains interdepartmental teams of hospital staff members on the importance of sustainability and accountability, as well as how to identify hidden cost-saving opportunities within a facility.

HealQuest employs a four-tiered learning approach that allows participants, regardless of prior knowledge and experience, to gain a foundational understanding of sustainability and decarbonization, says Kara Brooks, MS, LEED AP BD+C, ASHE’s senior associate director of sustainability. 

“HealQuest aims to empower participants to engage in sustainability efforts and lead by shifting culture and changing behaviors throughout their business units, teams and across their organization,” Brooks says. 

In the program’s first tier, participants enroll in Operation Decarbonization, a self-paced, asynchronous e-learning course (see main story). The second tier of HealQuest consists of on-site multidisciplinary team trainings led by ASHE staff.

In the third tier, HealQuest participants explore the hospital site for savings opportunities. Participants are broken into teams based on their sustainability priorities and hospital departments to guarantee that a variety of perspectives are represented in each facility area as the teams explore.

At the end of Tier 3, each team has generated a list of savings opportunities that is compiled and prioritized based on cost, duration of implementation and return on investment. 

In the fourth tier of HealQuest, participants develop a plan to act on each savings opportunity. Tier 4 includes one year of sustainability consultation and guidance from HealQuest staff, including regular check-in meetings that aid facilities in mobilizing their sustainability teams.