Green technology spurs energy efficiency for surgical suites
Johnson Controls' Healthcare Environment Optimization integrates a hospital's building automation system with surgery scheduling to optimize air exchange rates and energy use – leading to projected annual savings of up to $10,000 in each operating room.
An operating room's heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems typically use a substantial amount of energy to ventilate and eliminate airborne contaminants.
"Typically, a high volume of air is being moved through the operating room around-the-clock, even when the room is vacant," said Richard Smith, director, healthcare, Johnson Controls. "This wastes energy and valuable dollars, but with Healthcare Environment Optimization, we can now control the air flow in an efficient and safe manner."
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Developed through a collaboration with Omaha, Neb.-based HDR, an architecture, engineering and consulting firm, Healthcare Environment Optimization translates and routes data from surgery scheduling to the building automation system and determines which of the two HVAC system modes should be used: surgery or setback.
When the system is in surgery mode, the HVAC system achieves a minimum number of air changes every hour per industry or local authority standards. In setback mode, most regulatory entities state that air changes may be reduced to 25 percent of suggested values when the operating room is unoccupied.
"Healthcare Environment Optimization enables our customers to capture this opportunity to reduce energy usage and operational costs based on real-time surgical schedules, which we all know can change on a rapid basis," said Smith.
Union Hospital, in Terre Haute, Ind., is a beta test site for the new software solution. Its new five-story, 500,000-square-foot facility features a surgical suite comprised of 10 operating rooms and is currently installing the new Healthcare Environment Optimization solution in conjunction with Innovative Workflow Technologies (IWT), the hospital's system integrator. The surgical scheduling system will integrate with the Metasys building management system.
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"We are the largest provider of health services between Indianapolis and St. Louis, and in order to continuously improve and expand our services, we must strive for the most efficient operations at all levels," said Dave Snapp, facilities director, Union Hospital. "The surgical environment is especially sensitive and corners can never be cut. Through Healthcare Environment Optimization, we expect to reduce our energy use and operational costs, but more importantly, we plan to do so while maintaining an uncompromising surgical environment for our patients and clinical staff."
With Healthcare Environment Optimization, the HVAC system operates at a reduced rate at the appropriate time. The new offering also provides: