Operating rooms are three to six times more energy intense per square foot than the hospital as a whole, due to their stringent heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) requirements, lighting, patient monitoring equipment, and long hours of use. There’s a tremendous opportunity for increasing energy efficiency and reducing energy costs for the entire facility by adopting smarter energy strategies in the surgical suite, such as LED lighting, HVAC setbacks for operating rooms, occupancy/vacancy sensors, as well as awareness campaigns, energy and water efficient retrofits of sterilization equipment and medical gas vacuum.
Energy saving strategies such as HVAC setbacks and LED lighting in ORs can save hospitals an average of nearly $125,000 per year.
The biggest savings can come from setting back OR air exchange rates when the OR is unoccupied. Bringing ORs back online is quickly accomplished via a collaborative protocol and mechanisms such as occupancy sensors, mushroom buttons, scheduling systems, and building automation systems.
However, simple, low-cost strategies can also add up fast: turning off lights, keeping doors closed, unplugging equipment, disconnecting vacuum and medical air, and putting computers and monitors in power save modes are opportunities to reduce energy, engage staff, and reinforce the idea that energy and water are resources to be used when needed.
Practice Greenhealth offers resources to help our members develop energy efficiency strategies designed especially for operating rooms. Our goal is to provide step-by-step resources that make it simpler for any hospital to design, implement, and measure the success of reduction efforts while addressing challenges along the way.