As we continue to strive to make the world healthier and more sustainable through technology, this blog focuses on hospitals as key stakeholders who are committed to improving the healthcare environments for the benefit of patients, staff and communities. This is the impetus to expanding the implementation of LED (light-emitting diodes) lighting technology in healthcare facilities.
Healthcare facilities are one of the highest consumers of energy in commercial building types and lighting alone represents about 42% of electricity consumption. Based on Graybar case study, the economic burden of old lighting represents $8.8 billion on energy each year to meet patient needs. A 200,000 sq. ft., 50-bed hospital in the U.S. spends approximately $680,000 annually, or roughly $13,611 per bed on energy costs.1 The “Graybar Lights the Way” case study suggests that healthcare facility saves 33% by using LED lighting technology as a cost-effective solution.2
A comprehensive evaluation requires a holistic approach. An economic assessment must be integrated with environmental and social analysis before LED lighting technology can be valued as sustainable. LED life of 50,000–100,000 hours suggests cost savings as LEDs minimize lamp replacement and maintenance costs. LEDs are deemed efficient because of an extended working life, significant reduction on CO2 emissions and electricity bills.
A downstream benefit to using LED lights is that LEDs generate significantly less heat than old lighting sources, which reduces costs on cooling and adds up to considerable energy savings. According to EPA’s 2008 assessment, lighting retrofits can save as much as 30%–50% of lighting energy, plus 10%–20% of cooling energy. Retrofits generally have shorter payback times than other building system retrofits.3
The LED technology as a retrofit solution not only yields economic and environmental benefits but also fosters social well-being. Lighting impacts caregiver performance and patient care outcome. Poor lighting impacts accuracy, reaction times and even a person’s mood. Graybar study suggests that average medication dispensing error rate in healthcare facilities is 3.8%. Nurses say constant exposure to artificial light is draining. Poor lighting compromises visibility and can lead to accidents. The study indicates 99% of patients in hospitals are age 65+ and cited “an eye that is 65+ years reduces incoming light by 65%.”4 Good lighting improves mood, reduces anxiety and depression, and decreases the length of a hospital stay. It decreases the likelihood of errors, injuries and patient falls. More comfortable surroundings help make hospitals safer, improve patient outcomes and reduce potential liability.
Other stakeholders of LED lighting technology in healthcare facilities are: caregivers, nurses, patients, facilities’ staffs and hospital operations managers; the architects and engineers who design environment for patients’ comfort and health, and caregivers’ well-being and performance; the installers of LED who require technology know-how in building green hospitals. The commitment of manufacturers and supply chains that are also stakeholders is essential to support the common goal of producing environmentally safe and economically effective LED lighting products.
LED technology offers a marketing advantage to all stakeholders. As in many other facilities, healthcare with old lighting could give the perception of poorly maintained and outdated facility. This could impact the reputation of the stakeholders and the hospital organization as a whole.
To boost energy efficiency, automatic lighting controls turn lights off when space is unoccupied, and turn lights on when triggered by occupancy sensors. Lighting controls can improve energy conservation by lighting only the space needed and configured individual fixtures or lighting zones.
To support the business case, Graybar established a four-step process composed of the following:5
Step 1: Assess
Graybar assesses current building and collected data.
Step 2: Propose
Graybar presents recommendations with ROI projections.
Step 3: Deploy
Graybar implements recycle replaced items, financed and installed LED retrofitted lighting.
Step 4: Capture
Graybar captures the benefits out of rebates/incentives. Graybar handles and processes the paperwork, documents ROIs and Environmental Impact Assessment reports.
For continuous improvement, additional steps 5 and 6 below are suggested for LED lighting technology implementation:
Step 5: Rate and Rank
Graybar shall employ bench-marking to evaluate hospitals’ lighting performance, then rate and rank hospitals based on their environmental, economic and societal impacts.
Step 6: Reward
Graybar can influence societal behavior to encourage less consumption on electricity and take proactive measures to conserving energy by using a reward system. Highly acclaimed publication to laud the hospitals as champions can promote sustainability. Graybar’s Green Certification Award can help maximize energy efficiency in healthcare facility.
Environmental impact and corporate social responsibility effect reputation to work to the advantage of the healthcare organizations. This affects the economic bottom line.