News Brief

Simple Design Features Could Save Hospitals $800,000 a Year

A study finds that a small investment in energy efficiency can reduce hospital energy use up to 62%.


The study analyzed hospital model prototypes across the country using case studies like St. Olav's hospital in Norway, pictured here.

Image courtesy of Helsebygg Midt-Norge

A new study from the University of Washington Integrated Design Lab, called Targeting 100!, finds that new hospitals could lead the way in reaching the goals of the 2030 Challenge, which seeks to achieve carbon neutrality in the building sector by 2030. The research suggests that hospitals can cut their energy consumption an average of 62% by reducing the demand on heating and cooling systems through design solutions such as exterior shading, lighting controls, automatic sensors, thermal energy storage, and greater insulation. Realizing this potential would exceed the current 2030 Challenge goal of 60% savings.

Such measures proved cost-effective for these typically high-consumption buildings, with modeling revealing savings across a variety of climates, according to the authors. On average, the study found that with a first-cost premium of 3%, operational savings would pay for energy-efficiency measures in less than 11 years. This could translate to savings of $800,000 a year for a typical hospital of 477,000 ft2. Some sustainable design features, such as daylighting and access to nature, have also been shown to support healing.

The study focused on new construction, but many of the design features highlighted can also be implemented in retrofits.

UPDATE: This article has been corrected to reflect that the Targeting 100! research was conducted by the University of Washington Integrated Design Lab.


Published June 27, 2013

Pearson, C. (2013, June 27). Simple Design Features Could Save Hospitals $800,000 a Year. Retrieved from

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