Phantom load is the power drawn from the wall while a device is not in use and visibly turned ‘off.’ The sources of phantom load can best be identified by monitoring the flow through outlets with smart switches and power strips. In an office building almost everything can be safely switched off or unplugged at night. But many devices in healthcare facilities actually need the phantom load they draw; this enables them to continue working for patients, maintaining records, and so on.
Audit the facility and take note of which computers and devices can be safely switched off completely at night; then build a plan for how to get to each of them. Grouping things on power strips is often the easiest way for a quick convenient energy saving effort.
Medical facilities often have an opportunity to make special deals with their power providers. You may even get offers from the state and federal government as incentives to help fund energy efficiency improvements. Never take for granted your facility’s position in the healthcare industry; it can open certain doors and make special deals available to you.
Get into the habit of looking for opportunities open to healthcare facilities; ask your state and energy provider if there are any programs you can participate in. Finding these opportunities may invoke a number of positive effects ranging from subsidization for appliance upgrades to a chance to participate in business energy strategies.
Not all medical facilities have a backup generator in case of blackouts during treatment, but many do. If your facility has a backup generator, first and foremost make sure it is in good repair and ready to be put into action quickly. Your generator isn’t just a way to keep the lights on and the machines running during big storms; it’s also a great way to lower the cost of your energy.
If your region charges demand prices during peak hours each or, alternately, if your energy provider has a demand relief program for high-consumption businesses, you have a way to participate. Essentially, you can convert a small amount of fuel into energy and power your building off the backup generator on purpose during the highest energy demand hours in order to lighten the load off the power companies and the grid.
If there’s one thing that healthcare staff is good at, it’s following procedure. In order to make sure that no illness is passed between patients and records are kept absolutely private, there are dozens of careful procedures that every healthcare facility staff member has to go through every day. From administration to doctors, everyone washes their hands, maintains security on their devices, and follows facility rules about patient management.
This means you’re actually in a better position than most to get full effective cooperation from your team on any new energy efficiency policies. Try making it standard operating procedure to turn out lights every time someone leaves an office or exam room. Add turning off and unplugging certain machines to part of their putting away procedures to prevent phantom load, and completely shutting down their workstations at the end of the day. With a team so used to following procedure, you’re sure to see results as soon as everyone gets used to the new policies.
Our final piece of advice is remarkably low-tech and high-effect. Your building is notably affected by the amount of sunlight it soaks up during the day. The more light pours through your windows, the warmer it will be indoors and the temperature inside affects how hard your HVAC system has to work to keep it matching the thermostat. To this end, try implementing a new blinds policy. With easy to reach and manipulate blinds controls, it will be relatively easy to simply open the windows treatments during cool months and mornings, then close up for hot months and warm afternoons. Simply combating the effects of seasonal weather can also combat the increased power consumption that also accompanies these seasons.
Reducing your power use is all about understanding where the energy goes and the smart ways to conserve. Contact us today to find out more about how to reduce the energy use in your office and school!