Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center | Energy Efficiency


  • The number of air exchanges per hour is reduced only at night and on Sunday when the OR is closed.
  • The Demand Ventilation Control System allows for increased monitoring of air quality in the OR at all times.
  • Estimated annual costs avoided: $196,000. This is a payback of less than two years.
  • Other outcomes: once awareness was raised regarding air exchanges, physicians and staff started to ask what else could be turned off in the OR during off-hours. This led to working with OR IT staff to program the large monitors in the ORs to turn off at night. Not only does this avoid energy costs, but it prolongs the lifetime use of the monitors (which are expensive to replace).

The Problem

For several years, Facilities Operations had been interested in implementing a demand ventilation control system for the OR platform. Air exchanges were running 24/7 at a set rate, even when rooms were empty at night and over the weekend. This resulted in a significant use of energy.

Addressing the Problem

The Team:

  • John Letson, Director, Facilities Operations
  • Robert Berninger, General Manager, Plant Operations, Energy & Engineering
  • William Hoskins, MD, Attending, Surgery
  • Janet Eagan, Manager, Hospital Infection Control
  • Cynthia McCollum, Associate Hospital Administrator
  • Tzipora Lubarr, Project Manager, Sustainability

With the establishment of the Green OR Team, Facilities Operations was able to present the project and answer any questions or concerns. Once the Green OR Team supported the project, Facilities Operations was then able to present to other relevant internal committees for approval. This included working with Infection Control to ensure that certain parameters were met. The main concern was whether air exchanges would return to appropriate regulatory levels if an OR had to be used in an emergency during off-hours. Facilities Operations was able to address these issues, and approval was granted. (The system is designed so that the air exchanges immediately go back to standardrates if anyone walks into the room during off-hours).

Implementation Process

Facilities Operations managed the installation of the system with the vendor.

Challenges and Lessons Learned

Identifying the correct people in a department to help champion an energy efficiency project is crucial. Once a Green OR Team was established, this was one of the first projects brought to their attention.

Demographic Information

As one of the nation's premier cancer centers, Memorial Sloan-Kettering is one of only 41 institutions in the United States that have been designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers by the National Cancer Institute.

Download Case Study