ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND SAVINGS FOR HOSPITAL CONSTRUCTION
Hospitals require and consume energy every day of the week, every day of the year. All of this comes out to a total of 8760 hours during 365 days of electric energy consumption and water supply. The majority of this electric energy comes from temperature control, ventilation and lighting as well as water supply to the different locations throughout the hospital. For this reason, it is necessary to control the waste produced by these systems in order to use energy efficiently and reduce consumption to continue to take care of the environment and inform society of the importance of saving energy.
What Are the Advantages of Using Energy Efficiently?
The task of improving energy efficiency within hospitals brings with it numerous advantages related to positive economic and environmental aspects. Therefore, controlling electric energy and water consumption throughout the hospital centre, makes it possible to achieve considerable economic savings, reaching around 20% savings of total consumption in the long-term. In addition to these savings, there are other advantages regarding the development of energy efficiency:
Increase in comfort level for patients and hospital workers.
An increase in the credibility of the hospital regarding the social awareness that occurs as a result of the improvements introduced and the results obtained.
Decrease in energy consumption and emissions of contaminating gases that produce a greenhouse gas effect on the ozone layer.
What Improvements Can Be Made To Save Energy?
Making a hospital more energy efficient reduces consumption costs, benefiting the economic and environmental functioning. Various efforts can be made that do not require additional funding and are based on simple and everyday actions and periodic reviews that will help to control the amount of energy used.
Certain examples of habits or revisions involve keeping tabs on open windows and doors in spaces with differing heat requirements, reviewing and maintaining the air conditioning system, cutting the circulation of hot water when there is no need or installation of artificial light in low consumption areas wherever possible.
there are other low cost improvements that require the attention of those working at the hospital regarding temperature control and lighting systems, given that they offer improved opportunities for savings.
Climate control systems
With a system of communication and collaboration among workers, it is possible to quickly detectareas where the temperature is not appropriate due to a poor configuration in the system, a malfunction or a heat leak. Acting quickly when these situations occur will help to save energy and improve the well-being of patients and hospital employees alike.
Additionally, it is also necessary to periodically review the thermostats and time switches because they often modify the configuration for a temporary change in the use of a certain area and then it may not be returned to the original configuration automatically and will require someone to take care of it manually. It is fundamental to review these devices frequently to ensure that the configuration is correct.
Regarding the organisation of different areas and different climate needs, it is importantto keep in mind that not all patients require the same temperature nor are they occupied the same amount of time. For this reason, it is important to differentiate the areas and program
the climate control independently in each one of them and this, in turn, will help to avoid unnecessary money waste.
Lastly, use a temperature interval that is wide enough to ensure that it does not reach a temperature that is below where it was previous to turning the system on and a temperature above refrigeration. In this sense, an adequate interval would avoid heating and cooling to occur simultaneously.
- Lighting Systems
It is important to keep in mind that lighting may involve more than 20% of the energy consumed in a hospital and a total of 35% of the electricity in general. For this reason, it is necessary to implement measures that control the consumption and decrease waste.
Firstly, by installing low consumption lamps to substitute the ordinary fluorescent lighting with compact fluorescent lamps that offer something similar to natural light and that is more durable. Using LEDs, which is currently the most efficient bulb on the market, is also an option but the cost is above that of fluorescent lighting.
Secondly, the use of parallel circuits that allow for shutting off the lights closest to windows apart from the rest of the lights. This way, it makes it not necessary to have the lights on where there is already enough natural light.
Thirdly, even though it is not any less important, making sure to stay in the habit of manually shutting off lights when they are not necessary, making sure the hospital employees are aware of the importance of saving energy and periodically controlling the detection of lights on in the different areas of the hospital.
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