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URMC / News / Highland Hospital Earns ENERGY STAR Rating for Energy Efficiency

Highland Hospital Earns ENERGY STAR Rating for Energy Efficiency

Only hospital in Rochester honored by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for reducing environmental footprint

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Highland Hospital has received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) prestigious ENERGY STAR rating, the national symbol for superior energy efficiency and environmental protection. Products and buildings that receive the ENERGY STAR designation reduce greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy-efficient specifications set by the government. As the only hospital in the Rochester area to receive this recognition, Highland earned a ranking of 88 out of 100—placing it among the top 15 percent of energy efficient hospitals in the nation.

Increasing concern about the financial and environmental risks associated with climate change is driving more organizations like Highland Hospital to strive for the ENERGY STAR label for their buildings. Receiving this recognition is seen as a symbol of an organization that is working to reduce global warming and its impacts.

Over the years, Highland Hospital has improved its energy performance while maintaining comfort for patients and visitors. By conserving and managing energy strategically, and making cost-effective improvements to its buildings, the hospital saves hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual energy costs and reduces the emission of greenhouse gases.

Additionally, Highland has invested in energy-saving equipment, including a 750-ton electrical chiller with the highest efficiency available at the time. Ongoing maintenance focuses on efficient operation, including monitoring the performance of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.

"Highland Hospital is conscious of our obligation to be both environmentally and fiscally responsible, which is why we are very pleased to accept EPA’s ENERGY STAR designation," said Cindy Becker, vice president and COO, Highland Hospital. "In the end, everyone benefits from earning the ENERGY STAR label because the investments we've made in reducing our environmental footprint will also lower our operating costs."

Commercial and industrial facilities account for half of all energy consumption in the U.S. at a cost of over $200 billion per year—more than any other sector of the economy. These facilities are also responsible for nearly half of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change. However, Highland Hospital and other commercial buildings that earn the ENERGY STAR rating use 40 percent less energy on average than typical buildings, and release 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere—thereby reducing energy costs.

Currently, Highland Hospital is exploring a range of additional energy-saving measures.

Possible self-funding, grant-eligible improvements include advanced climate control strategies, including variable volume/pressure and ventilation reset; lighting upgrades; and water conservation. "Highland Hospital will continue to use the ENERGY STAR label to benchmark its energy consumption, and ensure the hospital will remain in the top 15 percent of energy efficient hospitals in the U.S.," added Becker.

About ENERGY STAR

ENERGY STAR was first introduced by the EPA in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. The ENERGY STAR for commercial buildings was established in 1999, and has since collectively saved billions in energy costs. On a scale of 1-100, commercial and industrial facilities that achieve a score of 75 or higher are eligible for the ENERGY STAR, indicating that they are among the top 25 percent of facilities in the country for energy performance. Commercial buildings that can earn the ENERGY STAR include hospitals, offices, bank branches, financial centers, retailers, courthouses, hotels, K-12 schools, medical offices, supermarkets, dormitories, and warehouses. In addition to these buildings, the ENERGY STAR label can be found today on more than 50 kinds of products, industrial buildings, and new homes.

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