Between June 28 and July 5, Facilities and Engineering employees conducted walk-thru energy audits of all three acute care facilities in Saskatoon. Some areas were skipped, for example ICUs and ERs, but office areas, and storage and service rooms in the acute care areas were examined.

Beginning roughly at 1930 and going to about 2130, it took about four hours to audit each site.
From the initial audit assesment, it was found that many lights were left on after hours in unoccupied spaces. There can be multiple reasons for this, some areas have only one switch for multiple areas and in some areas switches couldn’t be found at all. And in other circumstances, some of the lights were clearly left on unintentionally.

As far as energy use is concerned, lighting is the chief concern, as it consumes the most electricity. However, a number of other devices that consume energy were left on. Quite a few computer monitors were still on, as were a number of televisions, radios and fans. The audit revealed that RUH, as the largest facility, had the greatest amount of energy wasted, but per capita, SCH was the largest electricity waster. To correct for the size of each facility, the findings were broken down to energy wasted per employee.

Energy audits are conducted to find areas where energy is being wasted, not to lay blame. Some of the areas found lit were actually inaccessible to staff after hours, or again, did not have any lighting controls available. Those areas are being addressed by FES. However, FES is asking every employee to do their best to turn off equipment and lights when they’re not needed.

Rough calculations show that Saskatoon Health Region spends more than $70,000 per year supplying electricity to empty rooms and hallways. In terms of lighting, some areas like storage and service rooms are appropriate for light sensors, but large areas and hallways are not. Sensors also are a capital expense, but employees who remember to turn off lights don’t cost a cent.

The full report of the Energy Audit findings will be available by mid-August and posted on our infonet site: http://infonet.sktnhr.ca/sustainability/Pages/NewsUpdates.aspx.

FES wants to extend thanks to the housekeeping supervisors for their assistance with the audits, to summer student Marcel for compiling the report, and to security for not arresting them for lurking around the buildings!

Conservation Corner is a regular feature of The Region Reporter written by Jocelyn Orb, Saskatoon Health Region’s Sustainability Coordinator.