Leaner Energy Advocate Health Care


  • Reduce fossil energy use as a means to improve/protect human health
  • Reduce Energy Consumption 20% by the year 2015 with a 2008 baseline
  • Improve reliability, efficiency, conservation and optimize operations
  • Leverage utility incentives to fund projects and initiatives, over $1.2 million received since 2010
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20% by the year 2015 with a 2008 baseline
  • Benchmarking of data at all sites

The Problem

Energy consumption at Advocate Health Care is expected to increase with added facilities, medical and office equipment, associates and patients contributing to our growing use of hospital facilities. Technology and other types of equipment are also being added to the infrastructure reflecting a further increase in overall energy needs and consumption.

The Strategy Selected

In an effort to combat the rising usage and energy cost, several initiatives and strategies are being deployed to meet Advocate’s needs today and to be better positioned for tomorrow. There are three core categories in our strategy to maintain reliability, plan for the future and contain energy cost. They are securing the best value of energy such as electricity and natural gas. The second is the reliability and efficient use or transfer of the energy to heating and cooling applications and finally energy conservation.

Implementation Process

The Team:

  • Facility Directors & Managers
  • Facility Associates
  • Construction Directors & Mgrs.
  • Energy Solutions Mgr.
  • All Associates
  • Administration

Follow systematic approach to maximize energy reduction and savings;

  • Assess Energy Performance
  • Track, analyze and benchmark data
  • Promote and implement operations and maintenance best practices checklist at each building with a hands-on approach that include improvements made to the day-to-day operation of mechanical systems. These improvements focus on zero to low implementation costs.
  • Conduct Retro-Commissioning - no-cost and low-cost energy efficiency measures
  • Prioritize actions and investments from facility and/or system audits
  • Determine budget for operational and capital requirements
  • Identify resources
  • Economic Demand Response Program
  • Continuous training of Associates
  • Develop Construction and Renovation Standards to exceed AHRAE 90.1-2007 by 20% for renovation and 30% for new construction. Water usage no greater than 20% less than the water use baseline calculated for the building after meeting the Energy Policy Act of 1992.

Challenges and Lessons Learned

Culture and awareness are keys to the implementation of a disciplined, standard approach to energy management program. Multiple sites with a variety of buildings and vintages of equipment create a challenge and the need for a distinctive plan. With a mixture of programs available selecting the right team and finding the energy site champion are important to continuous energy improvement.

Demographic Information

Advocate Health Care, based in Oak Brook, Illinois, is the largest fully integrated health care delivery system in metropolitan Chicago and the state of Illinois. Advocate has More than 200 sites offering inpatient, outpatient services, home health services, hospice, counseling, physician services, skilled nursing care and health care education programs. There are 10 hospitals, including 2 children’s hospitals and specialty hospital for extended care; more than 3,500 beds and 3.1 million patient visits annually. Advocate has 25,000 employees, 4,600 primary care and specialty physicians and 7,000 nurses throughout the system with 300,000 emergency and 6,100 trauma patients seen annually.

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