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WASHINGTON, DC-The Department of Energy is duplicating the public-private initiative it has launched in the retail and commercial building space in the medical sector. Called the Hospital Energy Alliance, members include DOE’s Richard Moorer and American Hospital Assoc. president and CEO Richard J. Umbdenstock. The goal is to promote energy efficiency and renewable technologies in the design, construction, retrofit, operations, and maintenance of hospitals–which are among the most complex and energy-intensive of all building operations.

Hospitals use 836 trillion BTUs of energy every year–more than 2.5 times the energy intensity and carbon dioxide emissions of commercial office buildings. Another metric that illustrates their huge energy consumption and subsequent pollution: US hospitals produce more than 30 pounds of CO2 emissions per square foot. They also spend more than$5 billion annually on energy, often equaling 1% to 3% of a typical hospital’s operating budget or an estimated 15% of profits.

The alliance hopes to address these issues by providing hospitals and healthcare organizations access to DOE’s resources and technical expertise as well as its national laboratories to develop programs to lower energy usage.

This is the third industry energy alliance DOE has launched, under its Net-Zero Commercial Building Initiative. Earlier this year, it enlisted several large retail stores to form the Retailer Energy Alliance. Last month it introduced the Commercial Real Estate Energy Alliance. The Net-Zero Energy Commercial Building Initiative was mandated by the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA 2007), which authorizes the Department to collaborate with the private sector, DOE’s national laboratories, other federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations to advance green buildings.

Other organizations represented on the Hospital Energy Alliance include Catholic Healthcare West; Department of Veterans Affairs; Gundersen Lutheran Health System; Hospital Corp. of America; Kaiser Permanente; New York-Presbyterian Hospital; Providence Health & Services; TECO/Texas Medical Center; University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; American Society for Healthcare Engineering; American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers; Global Health and Safety Initiative; and Illuminating Engineering Society of North America. DOE did not return a call to GlobeSt.com in time for publication.

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