by Roy W. Haller
As multiple-unit residential facilities with high operational costs, senior care centers and assisted living facilities have to consistently assess energy usage and system efficiencies to ensure long-term sustainability. These facilities also have the added responsibility to provide a high quality of life for their residents, so becoming more energy efficient is critical to keeping costs down and improving care delivery.
As an administrator of Energize Connecticut programs, The United Illuminating Company (UI) partners with senior care facilities to develop custom savings plans.
Through energy assessments and efficiency consulting, UI identifies cost-effective upgrades, providing technical insight and turnkey solutions. UI also presents options to help facilities secure rebates, incentive payments, or low-interest financing through the Connecticut Green Bank.
Senior care communities of all types can benefit from the strategic, custom approach we take to keep energy efficiency technically and financially feasible. Energy-saving techniques are wide-ranging and can be incorporated into the maintenance, design, and operation of any facility.
Comprehensive lighting projects are one of the most common energy-saving solutions implemented in healthcare facilities. Indoor and exterior lighting, signage backlights, and parking lights can be easily upgraded to LED and fluorescent systems, streamlining facility maintenance, increasing overall energy efficiency, and reducing costs.
Collaborating with UI, Mary Wade Home, Inc. integrated fluorescent lighting into the expansion of its Adult Day Center and Skilled Nursing Facility in New Haven. The lighting overhaul, along with the installation of an energy-efficient chiller unit and a new condensed boiler, resulted in an annual energy savings of $29,900, with an estimated $452,400 lifetime savings.
Whitney Center of Hamden, a continuing care retirement community, successfully lowered operating costs by upgrading to energy-efficient lighting. The enhancement to the facility improved its environment with increased lighting control and supported the bottom line by reducing energy usage.
Beyond lighting upgrades, energy management systems and equipment improvements provide opportunities to reduce energy consumption and increase savings. Upgrading HVAC systems, refrigeration controls, faucet aerators, spray valves, and high-efficiency washers and dryers significantly impacts operational costs.
Bridgeport Hospital completed a facilitywide efficiency makeover, integrating a new energy management system, variable speed drives, and lighting sensors. The hospital is expected to achieve an estimated lifetime energy savings of $5 million.
As an energy authority, UI is an excellent resource and partner for senior living and healthcare facilities proactively looking for ways to conserve energy through the portfolio of Energize Connecticut programs.
Roy W. Haller is director of commercial and industrial energy service programs at The United Illuminating Company.