Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital (NVRH) is located in Vermont’s historic NortheastKingdom. They are a 25-bed community, not for profit, acute care, critical access hospital. They are also one of two Vermont hospitals designated as a Baby Friendly hospital by the United Nations and provide primary and preventive care, surgical and specialty services, inpatient and outpatient care and 24-hour, physician-staffed emergency services.
Richard Degreenia, Director of Plant Operations at NVRH, needed to accomplish two essential building initiatives. One – upgrade the entire hospital’s lighting to LED to provide better lighting output for the patients, visitors, and the workforce and two – better NVRH’s EPA ENERGY STAR rating for Hospitals. Lighting is a significant investment for healthcare facilities and Richard was aware of Efficiency Vermont’s incentive programs and hoped this could help deter costs. He enlisted Leading Edge Design Group (LEDG) to assess his current lighting and provide a detailed strategy and plan to submit to and work with Efficiency Vermont for incentive approval.
Once the plan and incentives were confirmed, LEDG helped NVRH implement a new LED lighting solution throughout the hospital. Approximately 1300 fixtures were installed with an embedded Bluetooth® sensor that enabled NVRH to program each fixture for daylight harvesting and occupancy and is configurable by building zones. The fixtures and zones are controlled by a mobile app to set a time delay, trim values, photocontrol options and more. As an example, office occupants can have the lights placed at the intensity they prefer, and when the offices or hallways aren’t occupied, the lights will go down completely. As the sensors detect movement, lights come on.
According to a 2017 article in Building Design & Construction, light plays an important role in human health and productivity, and there is no environment where these two factors are more dynamically connected than healthcare facilities. Hospitals are finding that upgrading to a modern LED lighting system can have a significant positive impact on almost every level of hospital function.
Although LED lighting usually gets attention as a money-saving, energy-saving strategy – it can reduce lighting energy costs up to 70% – it can also bring measurable improvements to a facility’s performance regarding patient recovery times, patient experience, medical staff performance, and staff job satisfaction. LED lighting may also contribute to reductions in accidents and errors; an increased sense of security for visitors and staff; and even better cleaning by maintenance staff. Those advantages can, in turn, yield financial benefits that go far beyond the cost of energy.
Putting sensors into each fixture helps create part of the backbone NVRH needs to continue creating a modern, intelligent healthcare facility. The individual sensors can be connected to other Internet of Things (IoT) technologies that will rely on room occupancy and gathering patient and workforce data. As an alternative to RFID, healthcare facilities can use lighting sensors for asset tracking to monitor high-value equipment in real time and additionally provide data about movement and use.
Accenture’s Internet of Things (IoHT) 2017 study states that IoTH is upon us and healthcare providers are now investing in IoT programs in three areas of their businesses – remote patient monitoring, wellness and prevention, and operations – and are seeing real value from the initial programs. At NVRH, lighting plays a big part in the daily operations at this 25-bed critical access hospital and is expected to:
- Achieve Return on Investment (ROI) in 2.67 years
- Save 314,837 kWh of energy annually equal to over $31K of operating costs
- Reduce long-term maintenance costs
- Prepare NVRH for future IoHT investments
With the generous rebates from Efficiency Vermont, NVRH is realizing a return on investment sooner and can continuously improve their healthcare environment for the patients, visitors, and the workforce.