Energy Target-Setting

The target-setting approach to improving energy use discussed here most closely follows the AIA 2030 Commitment methodology, although it builds in a number of considerations unique to health care facilities. The targets identified are defined in terms of reductions in consumption of energy derived from fossil fuels.f

Fossil fuel emissions are by far the largest source of emissions from hospitals, typically around 95 percent. Thus, if a health care facility reduces fossil fuel consumption, it significantly reduces its overall emissions. Defining the targets in this way allows analysis of a facility's energy use to account for use of on-site renewable energy and utility company renewable supply sources, reductions in energy demand, and even renewable energy credits to help the facility realize its goals to reduce both energy use and emissions. Assessing emissions based on how much of the energy a facility uses comes from fossil fuels gives users maximum flexibility at the same time it allows for real reductions in fossil fuel emissions.

Target-Setting Goals

The Roadmap has adjusted the timeline of the AIA 2030 Challenge, which requires carbon neutrality by 2030. While AHA recognizes the responsibility of the health care industry to reduce energy consumption from fossil fuels, its experts agree that—given their unique set of circumstances—aiming for carbon neutrality by 2050 is a more reasonable timeline for hospitals. However, this still is an aggressive goal for the health care industry.

Based on the results from a think tank convened by Kaiser Permanente and a group of health care experts from around the world, the Roadmap target-setting energy tool identifies the following goals as achievable by the health care industry (these goals mirror those of scientists from the State of California and the United Nations):

  • Stop all increases in consumption of energy from fossil fuels no later than 2015.
  • Drop energy consumed from fossil fuels to 40 percent below current levels by 2020.
  • Further decrease fossil fuel consumption to 80 percent below current levels by 2050.

Existing Buildings. The Roadmap target-setting tool for energy use allows users to choose one of three sets of goals: to achieve a Basic, Intermediate, or Advanced level of performance. Accordingly, we have identified achievement of the Kaiser strategy goals outlined above as an Intermediate strategy and set the endpoint for this at 80 percent below the current average for similar buildings (type and size) in the same region, which is identifed in Portfolio Manager as an Energy Star 50 building. Carbon neutrality by 2050 is defined as the Advanced goal; some health care organizations already are on this path. Because the tool assumes a portfolio approach to the industry—and because the Advanced goal is 20 percent lower than the Intermediate goal—we set the 2050 Basic endpoint at 20 percent less than the Intermediate goal, or 60 percent below current levels. The reductions are intended to be based on source energy, which allows health care organizations to adopt both on-site and off-site renewable energy strategies. The starting point for existing buildings is irrelevant as the tool assumes that all hospitals will need to journey toward one of the three proposed levels and, because the starting points will be different, so will the slopes.

New Buildings. With regard to new buildings, ASHE has formulated its energy goals through its Energy to Care program, which is aligned with the EPA Energy Star program. The Energy Star program recognizes actual performance as opposed to theoretical performance of buildings. Experience has shown that energy models frequently fail to predict actual performance. If facility managers are going to invest time and resources in pursuit of a goal, the goal must be real and delivered, not theoretical.

Implementing the measures in ASHRAE 90.1: Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings should result in an Energy Star rating of approximately 75. Thus, we have selected designing to Energy Star 75 as the Intermediate requirement for new hospital buildings. Several new hospitals are seeking very high energy performance by adopting various innovative energy technologies. These buildings are yielding designs with Energy Star ratings of approximately 90. Because our emphasis is on actual performance, ASHE set the highest level of building design at 85. For purposes of symmetry (and an assumption that such symmetry is more likely to create the portfolio the sector requires), we have set the minimum performance level of new buildings to Energy Star 65.

ASHE Energy Target Goals


Approach 2010 2050
Existing Buildings Basic Current Energy Star rating 60 percent below Energy Star 50
Intermediate Current Energy Star rating 80 percent below Energy Star 50
Advanced Current Energy Star rating Carbon neutral
New Buildings Basic Energy Star 65 60 percent below Energy Star 50
Intermediate Energy Star 75 80 percent below Energy Star 50
Advanced Energy Star 85 Carbon neutral

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Energy Target-Setting Tool

The energy target-setting tool is designed to help calculate incremental reduction targets, based on the assumption of a linear reduction trend. However, because reduction paths are not always linear, the incremental targets are intended to serve as a guide. Use this tool as a quick reference for incremental reduction targets that are necessary to progress toward the long-term 2050 goal. [The baseline of a current Energy Star building with a rating of 50 represents the current average for similar buildings (type and size) in the same region; this is shown as the benchmark in the graph below.]

Energy Reduction Targets

Instructions for using the Energy Target-Setting Tool:

  • Download the Energy Target-Setting Tool.
  • Enroll in EPA Portfolio Manager by using the Energy Star Benchmarking Starter Kit.
  • Enter your utility consumption data to determine your facility's Energy Star rating and source energy use intensity in kBtu/SF.
  • For use as a benchmark, determine the baseline energy use intensity for similar facilities in your region by using the Energy Star Target Finder tool for a building with a target rating of 50. This is achieved by entering the following information:
    • Enter your zip code in Facility Information.Facility Information
    • Select your space type in Facility Characteristics. Facility Characteristics
    • For an acute care hospital, enter gross floor area, number of licensed beds, maximum number of floors, and whether tertiary care is provided in the facility.
    • For a medical office building, enter gross floor area, number of workers, weekly operating hours, percentage cooled, and percentage heated.
    • Facility Characteristics
    • Select a target rating of 50.
    • The Target
    • Click View Results.
    • Record the source energy use intensity in the Target Energy Performance Results, and enter it into the energy target-setting tool as a benchmark.
    • Target Energy Performance Results
    • Pick a reduction path, and record the energy reduction targets over current consumption your facility needs to meet each year to achieve the identified end results.
    • Energy Reduction

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