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Two-Thirds of Healthcare Orgs Planning Efficiency Investments

Almost two-thirds of healthcare organization, 62 percent, said they plan to make capital investments in energy efficiency over the next 12 months, according to a new survey by Johnson Controls.

In March 2010, Johnson Controls, in conjunction with American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) and the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), commissioned the 2010 Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI) survey, which polled 2,882 executives and managers responsible for making investments and managing energy in facilities worldwide. Of these respondents, 288 operated in the healthcare sector in North America.

The results show the healthcare industry to be a leader among sectors in pursuing energy efficiency initiatives. The percentage of healthcare respondents planning such investments this year exceeds the overall percentage for North American by a 12-15 percent margin.

The survey also found that 58 percent of healthcare building decision-makers say that energy management was very or extremely important to their organization, compared with 52 percent among North American respondents across all sectors.

The survey found that the most important decision driver for energy efficiency investment in the healthcare sector is the potential for cost savings, as 99 percent of respondents said that factor was somewhat, very, or  extremely important to their organization. Cost savings was also the most important driver in North America and worldwide.

Despite the sector’s plans to invest in energy efficiency, there are several barriers preventing healthcare organizations from investing to the extent they wish in order to capture the full potential cost savings. The top two barriers reported by facility leaders in healthcare were capital constraint and concerns about return on investment for funds deployed toward energy efficiency initiatives.

The sector, which constitutes 8 percent of the U.S. carbon footprint, has been trying to reduce its energy needs in recent years. Suppliers have been making commitments to reduce energy needs as well, such as GE Healthcare’s commitment to cut energy use in ultrasound equipment by 25 percent, Sharps Compliance’s breakthrough process that eliminates medical waste to landfills by 100 percent, and a new co-generation plant for St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica, New York.

The healthcare segment comprised 20 percent of the North American respondents, and 85 percent of this segment were members of the American Society for Healthcare Engineering.  Eighty-six percent of the respondents were employed in a private healthcare organization, compared with the remaining 14 percent working for government-owned organizations.  Most of the respondents held a VP/director of facilities or a facility manager role.

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