UMMC Engages Leadership through ASHE Energy to Care Treasure Hunt

Better Buildings Affiliate, the American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) and Better Buildings Challenge Partner, University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), partnered to host an Energy to Care Treasure Hunt. The treasure hunt is a one to three-day event hosted by ASHE and based on the ENERGY STAR® Treasure Hunt Program. It is designed to engage a cross-functional group of attendees in identifying energy savings opportunities from behavioral, operational, and maintenance actions. The hunt was part of an overall training session held after the 2019 ASHE Annual Meeting in Baltimore, MD.

Since its rollout in 2017, the ASHE Energy Treasure Hunt has successfully helped health care organizations become more efficient, thus conserving more resources for patient care. The program aims to empower attendees to take what they have learned on the hunt and apply them back throughout their own facilities, inspiring a ripple effect of culture change and resource conservation across the health care industry.

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  • Process

    The Energy Treasure Hunt at UMMC was part of an overall training session held after the ASHE Annual Conference. To determine a host facility, ASHE reached out to its local chapters to solicit for interested host sites which UMMC eagerly volunteered for. The hunt is preceded by three webinars which explain the importance and elements of a hospital energy program, and introduce the Treasure Hunt concept, tools, and resources. UMMC as the host facility signed a letter of commitment and engaged with senior leadership to ensure that they would be present for the final savings presentations. Facility representatives were identified and assigned as the leader of five teams, consisting of around 10 people on each team.

    UMMC and ASHE worked to divide the facility and assigned teams to discrete areas, including office areas, storage areas, hallways, restrooms, the exterior entryways, the pharmacy, cafeteria and kitchen, patient rooms, ICU post-operation, outpatient unit, operating rooms, radiology, laboratories, sterile processing, data areas, mechanical rooms, the central plant, and the roof.

    Prior to the treasure hunt, UMMC provided resources for data collection and analysis including one year of utility data information in ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager, utility load demand profiles, a list of open and complete energy projects, hospital site maps, building list and utility inventory per The Joint Commission, utility rebates available, and a 12-month work order history.

    Participants were asked to complete three, one-hour long webinars in weeks prior to the treasure hunt to familiarize themselves with identifying energy savings in facilities. A key to the Energy Treasure Hunts is that participants often notice things that hospital personnel and facility staff overlook in their day-to-day movements around the hospital. Upon arrival, teams are grouped together and provided with a high-level training overview before being sent out to “hunt” and document initial findings. At the conclusion of day one, a preliminary report on what “treasure” each team discovered is presented and teams prioritize their top three findings to share with the group.

    The second day, teams are provided with a suite of resources including a spreadsheet preloaded with calculations that would determine the energy and dollar savings of common energy saving initiatives and the return on investment (ROI) of each considering local utility costs. Additionally, teams calculate savings in regard to patient days to “speak the language” of a hospital’s executive leadership. ASHE provides participants with pre-formatted PowerPoint slides to be used to report out savings and recommendations.

    At the conclusion of calculations and presentation preparation, groups convene to join hospital leadership to report out findings including estimated savings and ROI.

  • Outcomes

    After two days at the facility, participants found a total of $2.1 million in energy saving opportunities. Recommendations included a variety of behavioral, lighting, thermal, water, ventilation, building envelope, scheduling and resets, steam traps, and airside measures that could be implemented throughout the healthcare facility. The Chief Financial Officer has actively been involved in accessing the report with these savings to take to the capital committee for funds. No/low cost measures began to be implemented immediately following the treasure hunt, including:

    • Added space-specific schedules
    • Raised temperatures in mechanical and electrical rooms
    • Removed mini-refrigerators
    • Repaired air leak in pneumatic control system
    • Adjusted pneumatically controlled atrium smoke exhaust louvers to reduce leakage

    According to the ASHE Energy Treasure Hunt Calculator tool, these measures are estimated to reduce energy 11 percent annually.

    Bar graph noting annual savings by category

  • Measuring Success

    • ASHE periodically checks in with UMMC to learn which energy savings opportunities have been implemented. Additionally, ASHE provides resources designed to help guide UMMC through the implementation process.
    • As a Better Buildings Challenge partner benchmarking their energy data, UMMC will be able to track the results of its energy saving actions supporting its progress towards its 20% energy reduction goal.

The University of Maryland Medical Center partnered with the American Society for Health Care Engineering to host an Energy to Care Treasure Hunt and identify energy-saving opportunities across its portfolio. The teams found $2.1 million in potential savings and engaged with executive leadership to roll out capital expenditure energy efficiency projects.




Identifying and evaluating energy savings opportunities across UMMC’s portfolio and engaging senior leadership.


UMMC partnered with American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) to host an Energy to Care Treasure Hunt to identify low-cost energy savings opportunities.


The 5 teams found a total of $2.1 million in potential savings and engaged with executive leadership to roll out capital expenditure energy efficiency projects.