Grumman/Butkus releases hospital benchmarking study

Report examines electricity, fossil fuel, water/sewer, and carbon footprint.


Hospitals’ energy costs per square foot (red boxes) have fluctuated greatly since 1999. Energy use intensity (Btu/sf/year) has drifted slightly downward but rose fairly sharply in 2013, probably due to inclement weather. Courtesy: Grumman/Butkus AssociateGrumman/Butkus Associates has released the results of its 2014 Hospital Energy and Water Benchmarking Survey, focusing on health care facilities’ resource usage trends and costs for calendar year 2013.

Since the survey was initiated 20 years ago, hospitals’ overall fossil fuel use has trended downward, but electricity use isn’t declining much. The average combined Btu/sq ft for facilities in the survey (electricity plus gas/steam) was 248,456 Btu/sq ft, at a cost of $3.27/sq ft, compared with 235,731 Btu/sq ft and $3.09/sq ft in the 2013 survey (2012 data). Harsh Midwestern winter weather patterns undoubtedly had an adverse effect on energy consumption for hospitals participating in the 2014 survey.

Carbon footprint results have stayed fairly steady over time, at about 60 pounds of CO2 equivalent/sq ft/year. Water use is gradually declining, currently averaging just over 50 gallons/sq ft/year (compared with nearly 70 gallons/sq ft/year a decade ago).

“Hospitals are under tremendous pressure to reduce operating costs,” said G/BA Chairman, Daniel L. Doyle. “Reducing energy and water usage not only helps hospitals cut operating costs, but also helps them reduce the environmental impact of their operations.”

The survey has provided a free annual benchmarking resource since its initial release in 1995. Hospitals are invited to participate without charge by submitting responses to a short list of questions. Information for this edition, covering calendar year 2013, was provided by 102 hospitals located in Illinois (54), Wisconsin (29), Michigan (7), Minnesota (4), Indiana (3), and several other states.

“Hospitals have been investing in efficiency measures and making progress, but have much further to go," says Doyle “Electrical energy reduction measures such as lighting retrofits are being offset by the introduction of more and more electronic imaging equipment and fully digital recordkeeping. Though some of the low-hanging fruit is gone, there are still many cost-effective opportunities remaining for reducing energy usage and costs. The downward trend in water usage reflects a movement to eliminate city-water-cooled equipment, as well as the use of low-flow and occupancy-based plumbing fixtures. Again, there is still much room for improvement.”

Full results and analysis, as well as information about participating in the 2015 survey, are available at the firm’s website

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