A Healthier Bottom Line for Howard University Hospital

Hospitals have unique energy consumption patterns - and many opportunities to save. Howard University Hospital is embracing sustainability, one step at a time.

Howard University Hospital (HUH) has been providing health services to the residents of the Washington metropolitan area for more than 145 years. A private, nonprofit institution, HUH is the nation’s only teaching hospital located on the campus of a historically black university. It offers medical students opportunities to observe or participate in ground-breaking clinical and research work with professionals who are committed to the local and global advancement of health care and health equality.

HUH teamed up with the DCSEU to install LED lighting on the exterior and first floor of the hospital, which contains the emergency room and its breakroom, hallways, staircases, and back entrance. The project is resulting in lifetime energy cost savings of $50,000, and has drawn positive feedback from staff and patients. Staff who work in shifts around the clock have noted positive effects of the upgrade, as the lighting enables them to adapt their natural circadian rhythms more easily.

“The new lighting really makes a difference in the hospital, and I have noticed it a lot during my work. I often arrive at and leave the hospital when it is dark outside so the crisp bright light really makes a difference for me. It is also great that it benefits the environment and supports our hospital’s sustainability,” said Dr. Edward Eugene Cornwall III, Surgeon-in-Chief, General and Critical Trauma Care. Dr. Cornwall graduated from Howard University School of Medicine in 1982 and became Surgeon-in-Chief in 2008.

The DCSEU is enthusiastic about working with hospitals because they have unique energy consumption patterns characterized by high savings potentials: They run 24 hours a day, seven days a week; use more energy-intensive equipment than most other businesses; and must meet high environmental standards, which can be challenging. But budgets are tight—experts estimate that hospitals spend twice as much as other businesses on energyrelated expenses, or as much as 51 percent of their total budgets. In some cases, hospitals have had to lay off staff to rebalance costs. However, experts also say that energy efficiency is a far more effective way to cut costs and keep quality standards high.

Now, HUH has received so much positive feedback about the new lighting that it is expanding the project to the second floor, with new lighting to be installed in stairwells and outside the hospital. 

Read more stories like these in the DCSEU FY 2017 Annual Report, Building the Future of Energy in the District.

Blog Categories:

hospital, led lighting, success story

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Ben Burdick
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