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Providing care in upstate NY at Rochester Regional Health

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | April 06, 2018
From the April 2018 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

The audit for their electricity usage has been thorough, even taking a close look at the impact from the vending machines in place across the health system.

“We realized the vending machines, with many from the 1970s, were using a ton of energy. When we actually added it up and saw they were costing us $120,000 a year in electricity, we went back to the vendors and asked for new ones,” Waller said.

The move basically cut the electric bill for vending machines in half.

Another big energy suck was the computers. With the size of the enterprise, there are close to 16,000 desktops across the organization. Many reside in buildings that are only open a few days a week, or only a certain number of hours every day. But the machines often weren’t being powered down. So software is being rolled out to shut off, or put equipment into sleep mode. It’s estimated the move will save nearly 5 percent overall for IT energy consumption, which results in a savings of 2.5 percent or more of overall energy consumption.

“It’s the same with HVAC. You find areas where things don’t need to be on, so putting sensors in to turn the equipment on when the room is in use, or putting it on a timer makes sense,” explained Waller.

One bump in the road has been the tariffs recently announced on imported solar panels, but adjustments are being made to keep pushing forward.
“The tariff was a pretty big deal as we’ve been forecasting forward. When we were looking at certain projects, that’s definitely going to change how some of those finances will play out and obviously for the negative. But people do get creative and it’s amazing how much they can innovate,” said Waller.

Rochester Regional is putting forth effort on reducing the waste its facilities produce as well. It is having conversations with vendors to reduce unneeded packaging, creating programs to capture pre-consumer food waste from its cafeterias and then turning that waste into energy via an anaerobic digester to help put a dent in the 20 tons of waste the system produces daily. The health care system is also actively pushing recycling programs where possible.

There are other plans in the works Waller promised, but they can’t be announced at this time. HCB News will check in with them again to see how the eco-push is going.

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