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Don't Forget Energy When Cutting Costs is a Priority

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, April 8, 2011

Another area of big potential savings revolves around HVAC systems, says D'Angelo. He initially thought he didn't have the manpower to increase maintenance on the HVAC. But he paid for it with savings from the lighting initiative. Changes include more frequent changing of air filters and programming to eliminate simultaneous heating and cooling, a problem which can occur often in large buildings such as hospitals.

"We rely on our automation systems and our partners who program them for us to make sure our systems aren't fighting against each other," he says.

The mistake that most people in his position make, says D'Angelo, is trying to deliver an energy conservation message without the backing of the C-suite.

Without executive-level support, advocates for conservation "end up being the lone voice from the top of the mountain," he says.

His CEO, Toby Cosgrove, MD, is an enthusiastic backer of the initiative, publicizing it internally, and he actually presents energy use metrics regularly to his board, D'Angelo says.

"We took that initial impetus from the C-suite and went to key leaders and got them to assign a volunteer to the energy committee, which deals with real-world issues on how we purchase gas and electricity and how we engage our groups. What we discuss in the energy committee gets translated out."

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