Pioneers Memorial Hospital
A true pioneer in hospital energy efficiency and environmental stewardship
At a Glance
- 20 percent — Annual reduction in electricity use.
- 18 percent — Annual reduction in natural gas use.
- 12 percent — Annual reduction in water use.
- Substantial Increase — In patient, staff, and community satisfaction as a result of the improvements made at Pioneers Memorial Hospital.
The challenge: Improve the care environment despite increased energy and operational costs.
Pioneers Memorial Hospital in Brawley, California has a long track record of providing high-quality care. But its leaders faced budgetary challenges due to a significant increase in utility costs as well as potential personnel cost increases resulting from a state mandate requiring hospitals provide one nurse for every five patients, instead of the previous standard of one nurse for every seven patients. The hospital needed to overcome these challenges without increasing capital expenditures. To do so, administrators had to greatly reduce the hospital’s energy consumption and operational costs. Beyond saving money, their CEO insisted that the hospital become more energy self-sufficient to protect the environment and leave more power available for the surrounding community.
The solution: A comprehensive program of energy efficiency retrofits, renewable energy solutions, and facilities management efficiencies, financed by grants and guaranteed savings from a performance contract.
Johnson Controls collaborated with Pioneers Memorial to design and implement a broad range of hospital energy efficiency and operational improvements and obtain the financing to pay for them without increasing capital expenses. Those improvements included:
- Upgrades to a more efficient lighting system
- Energy-efficient electric motors for air handlers
- A new heat exchanger to produce cool water in winter without running chillers
- Heating, ventilating and air-conditioning retrofits
- Low-flow fixtures and other conservation measures to reduce water usage
- Design and installation of a 630-panel photovoltaic (PV) solar power generation system to help meet the facility’s energy needs
- Medical gas system upgrades
- A Metasys® building management system to monitor, control, and optimize all building systems
- Hospital facilities management services to lower operating costs and improve operational efficiency
This is a 10-year, $3.8 million project. Johnson Controls helped the hospital obtain grants and rebates from the local utility company to offset part of the cost. To cover the rest, Johnson Controls offered a performance contract that guarantees energy and operational savings for the life of the contract. Johnson Controls also worked with Pioneers Memorial to obtain a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), whereby a third-party financial institution owns and operates the solar panel array and the hospital buys back the energy it needs at a discounted fixed rate.
Results and Benefits
In the first year of the project, the hospital cut usage of electricity by 20 percent, natural gas by 18 percent, and water by 12 percent. Under the performance contract, Johnson Controls guarantees those savings will continue year after year. Given these savings, the project will pay for itself so the hospital does not have to increase capital expenses.
The hospital staff benefits from having a continuously comfortable working environment, and the hospital thereby improves its ability to attract and retain excellent medical professionals.
Patients benefit from a safe and sustainable environment of care.
The community benefits from the hospital’s concern for the environment and energy and water conservation. In short, Pioneers Memorial is a hospital that works – for all the people it serves.
This is our first step in going green. It was built as a partnership. It will save the hospital money, be better for our environment and be a win-win for all the citizens of the Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District as well as for all of those in Imperial Valley.
– Aleta Shropshire, then president of the PMHD Board of Directors on the hospital’s new solar energy generation system.
[Source: INSIDE ASHE, November-December 2008, “Solar Energy Powers Positive Environment of Care,” Michael Douglas, Healthcare Systems.]