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UW Health Reaches, Exceeds Better Buildings Challenge Goal

By Allison Nozza, RE Tech Advisors on Aug 02, 2018

UW Health is an integrated health system that serves more than 600,000 patients each year and includes seven hospitals and 80 outpatient sites.

In 2016, UW Health committed to the Better Buildings Challenge setting the goal of a 20% energy use intensity (EUI) reduction from a 2013 baseline by 2023. Six years ahead of schedule, they have surpassed their goal, achieving a 24% EUI reduction.

UW Health’s energy management journey began in 2010 with benchmarking in the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager; by 2012 UW Health proposed becoming a more energy-efficient organization to senior leadership. This proposal included goals like ENERGY STAR partnership, forming an energy team, sharing benchmarking data, engaging with independent firms, and creating a culture of awareness for conservation.

Since joining the Better Buildings Challenge, UW Health has seen a 31% reduction in the amount of energy used per square foot, which includes more than 90% of their total portfolio space and six of their seven hospitals. UW Health was able to achieve this goal in such a short amount of time due to their diligence in implementing a variety of solutions across their portfolio including:

  • Retro-commissioning
  • Daylighting, lighting controls, and LED lighting upgrades
  • HVAC scheduling changes
  • Temperature set-backs
  • HVAC occupancy sensors
  • High-efficiency equipment
  • Demand reduction strategies

Additionally, UW Health has committed to training several staff in the Building Operator Certification program and created a robust sustainability program, which looks specifically into energy and water reduction strategies. UW Health developed a showcase project at University Hospital, which achieved 27% savings through a partnership with Sustainable Engineering Group (SEG). UW Health also accomplished Building Automation System (BAS) Optimization across multiple buildings in its portfolio through partnership with their utility’s Focus on Energy On Demand Savings pilot program.

Since achieving their 24% EUI improvement, UW Health has set another goal of achieving an additional 10% improvement over 10 years, calling it "10 in 10". This goal calls for a total EUI improvement of 34% by 2027 over 2013’s baseline. Current energy improvement projects include studying HVAC set-backs in operating rooms and reducing the amount of cooling in data centers.

"UW Health is committed to improving energy efficiency across our 4.7 million square feet of space to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect human health. Our key to success is our sustainability strategy centered around energy improvements that do not disrupt patient care and enhance both patient and staff comfort.”

—Mary Evers Statz, Program Director Energy Management and Sustainability, UW Health

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