News Analysis

Energy Department's Hospitals Program Lacking in Rigor

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has launched the EnergySmart Hospitals program, with the goal of reducing the energy use of hospitals by 20% in existing buildings and 30% in new buildings, relative to current standards. The program has similar goals to the Energy Star for Healthcare program administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but, unlike that program, does not require benchmarking or verification of energy savings.

For hospitals, the potential benefits of energy savings are huge. In 2007, the nation’s 8,000 hospitals spent more than $5 billion on energy. This is only 1% to 3% of the average hospital’s budget, but it still represents 836 trillion Btus, or 2.5 times as much energy per square foot as average commercial office buildings. According to Richard Moorer, DOE’s associate undersecretary for energy, energy savings can translate into reductions in healthcare costs. “With major hospital construction planned before 2014, we have a unique opportunity to help U.S. hospitals improve energy efficiency, which will reduce their energy costs and free up healthcare dollars that can be reinvested in patient care,” he said.

Published January 22, 2009

Wendt, A., & Jessica, B. (2009, January 22). Energy Department's Hospitals Program Lacking in Rigor. Retrieved from