U.S. health care expenditures surpassed $3 trillion in 2014, according to Forbes. The sheer number of patients and costs associated with public health are enormous, which is why cost-saving measures are needed.
One of the largest areas where money can be saved is in energy consumption. The U.S. Energy Information Administration indicated large hospitals accounted for more than 4.3 percent of the total energy consumed by the entire U.S. commercial sector. This doesn't take into account hospitals with less than 200,000 square feet, either.
Hospitals are unlike other commercial facilities because they require 24/7 operation with a host of different pieces of equipment that drain electricity. Lighting, refrigeration, heating and ventilation all continue operating throughout the day, many times without delay or interruption. This level of energy consumption enhances the likelihood of small issues becoming much larger financial problems.
National Grid, a multinational utility company, noted operating rooms get 100 percent of their air from outdoors, which means HVAC systems must efficiently filter outside air into highly controlled areas. This task is not always easy considering the number of pollutants and contaminants outdoors and perhaps inside of the HVAC unit itself.
One simple malfunction, whether it be a damaged HVAC coil or a pinhole leak, can present a serious issue. Not only will these breakdowns potentially harm patients inside the hospital but also cause the machine to work harder. Without proper detection software or inspection, these problems can go unnoticed for long periods of time and create a domino effect of exacerbated issues, each one compounding and creating another.
For instance, a small crater caused by a bent HVAC coil can allow water, gases and chemicals to pool in the indentation, which can lead to corrosion and a full break in the metal. Water can then leak into the unit, causing mold and microbial buildup and clogging the passageways of coils and filters. These blockages can render the unit useless and create a full HVAC failure, for which replacing the entire system in a hospital setting will cost millions of dollars.
If coils are not fully protected against harsh elements, they can easily break down, which contributes to an inordinate amount of energy waste because the unit will increase its output to rectify the poor-performing coil. This process drives electricity consumption even as airflow and temperature control is subpar. Not only are hospitals spending more, but they are getting less in return.
Upgrading and retrofitting
Health centers collectively spend roughly $9 billion a year on energy costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The DOE suggested hospitals are best served by replacing old HVAC equipment and opting for more energy-efficient materials as both a resource and public health issue.
As much as half of all a hospital's energy use relates to HVAC functions, meaning the room for more efficiency is vast. Even slight changes can have a large impact.
For instance, retrofitting an HVAC unit with optimized coils is a great way to immediately improve both air quality and efficiency. In addition, new software can utilize analytics to locate HVAC problems when they start, which cuts down on the amount of time needed to get replacement parts installed.
Health care facilities are frequently looking for ways to stay up to date with Section 170 of the ASHRAE Standard, which is an ever-changing code of ventilation and air control within hospitals. Because new industry standards and government action from both the federal and state level pushed energy efficiency into the forefront of future business models, the health care industry can do a lot to enhance its economic viability and limit its environmental impact.
HVAC coils are a critical component to reducing total energy waste within hospitals, especially since they are a comparatively less expensive option than replacing other equipment. The selection of new coils, however, is equally as vital because installing the most advanced and durable coils will have a much greater impact on HVAC performance.
Using HVAC coil coatings helps increase the lifespan of coils and revamp once-failing HVAC systems, thus removing inefficiency and reducing energy costs.
Rahn Industries has a full lineup of spray and immersion (dip)/ Bake protective coatings to meet your needs.