Conserving electricity brings great rewards for Medical Center

In the 21st century, green is more than a color -- it’s a buzz word for being environmentally conscious. It also demonstrates an organization’s commitment to managing costs and being good stewards of limited resources. Green practices generally fall into four categories: energy management, water conservation, waste management, and green cleaning.

Recently, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center earned a 2011 GreenCare Award in the transportation category, reflecting the organization’s commitment to providing environmentally sustainable health care.

The Medical Center and College of Medicine also have made significant progress in the area of energy management. New construction within the Penn State system is mandated to receive a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating. However the LEED rating system is primarily for new construction and is focused on nonhealth care commercial buildings. For existing structures on campus (built prior to 2008), work has been ongoing in the reduction of overall energy consumption. In January of 2010, the deregulation of Pennsylvania Power Light (PPL), which is the Medical Center’s electric supplier, gave the Medical Center direct control over future electric pricing by purchasing electricity from a supplier of choice. Organizational leadership worked diligently to pick a strategy that blended fixed pricing percentages with open market pricing to allow for a favorable overall budget strategy. At the end of 2010, the campus realized savings of more than $1.3 million dollars off of their standard utility rates.

Another measure put into place in 2010 was the creation of the University-wide Energy Savings Program (ESP). Phase one focused on the following energy conservation measures: lighting upgrades, steam trap replacement, conditioned air delivery system improvements, building system controls upgrades and building envelope improvements. While upgrades continue across the Hershey campus, the main focus of the measures is at the University Physician Center I building, the clinical science addition, the Biomedical Research Building, the main hospital, the south and east additions, and the University Computer Center on Sipe Ave. Phase two of the project began in early 2011 and includes conditioned air delivery improvements and additional lighting and building systems controls upgrades.

The Energy Savings Program also has taken advantage of the Pennsylvania Legislative Act 129 electric rebate program offered through PPL. In September, the Medical Center and College of Medicine received an Act 129 rebate check from PPL in the amount of $102,843.60, which increases the organization’s total rebate savings from the energy savings projects to just under $400,000. That savings total is likely to hit more than $500,000 in the near future. Ongoing conservation measures will continue in conjunction with PPL.

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Last Updated October 27, 2011