Canton, Ohio: Mercy Medical Center recently earned the ENERGY STAR designation – the national mark of excellence in energy performance – from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy’s joint program. Mercy is one of only two hospitals in Ohio and 87 nationwide to be awarded this distinction.
With an overall rating of 85 on an energy efficiency scale of zero to 100, the hospital is one of eight ENERGY STAR buildings in Canton. To obtain ENERGY STAR, facilities must pass a rigorous application process and an on-site review.
Rick Antenuce, manager of plant engineering and facilities at Mercy, says measuring up to strict ENEGY STAR standards is challenging for any hospital because of the 24/7/365 nature of the operation. Yet, improving Mercy’s energy efficiency has been a "labor of love" for him and a team of qualified technicians for nearly 15 years – and counting.
"Energy management is an attitude, and it fits well with the hospital’s mission," he says. "We strive not only to lower energy costs, but also to increase the comfort level of patients, their families and our visitors."
BAS, an Important Energy Tool
Mercy Plant Engineering strategies focus on all aspects of energy usage, from heating and cooling to lights and equipment. The team continues to retrofit older T12 light fixtures with more efficient T8s, replace incandescents with CFLs (compact fluorescent light) and implement motion-sensor lighting and LED technology.
A building automation system (BAS) has proven to be one the hospital’s wisest energy investments. Mercy HVAC technician Mark Mickley believes the integrated system’s ability to adapt and grow with green technology, as well as hospital-specific programs, has been one of its greatest assets.
Mickley says, "Over time, we’ve been able to conceptualize, design, test and add original programs to our BAS with relative ease. That’s particularly helpful as we continue to blend older parts of our facility with new additions."
BAS-driven initiatives include:
- Sensors and settings that help reduced the use of air handlers and blower fans in unoccupied spaces and during evenings, nights and weekends.
- Automated chiller optimization, which adjusts to outside air temperature and dew point.
- Use of a cooling coil – rather than the chiller plant – during the winter months for areas of the hospital that need cooling throughout the year.
- Automated load shedding to reduce chiller plant exertion in the summer.
Administration Supports Green Initiatives
Antenuce adds that he’s always had the full support of Mercy’s administration on energy performance strategies. Mercy president and CEO Tom Cecconi is pleased with the recent designation and commends Mercy staff members on a job well done.
“Earning the ENERGY STAR is a reflection of not only Mercy’s commitment to becoming greener, but also the years of hard work and determination of our plant engineering group,” Cecconi says. “They are an indispensable team when it comes to improving operational efficiency and an important contributor to overall patient care.”
Senior vice president and COO Jeff Smith notes that Mercy and the Catholic Health Association, which recently published its support of vigorous environmental initiatives in Faithfully Healing the Earth, both recognize the long-term importance of conserving energy and resources.
"Mercy’s green initiatives, while certainly helpful in these challenging economic times, are here to stay and will extend to all facets of our organization because our mission calls us to be good stewards of the earth," says Smith.
This month Mercy begins its roll-out of what will eventually be a hospital-wide recycling program for paper, plastics and aluminum.
To learn more about ENERGY STAR and Mercy’s designation, visit www.energystar.gov and click on "Buildings & Plants."
About Mercy Medical Center
Mercy Medical Center, a nonprofit corporation of the Sisters of Charity Health System and University Hospitals Health System, operates a 476-bed hospital serving Stark, Carroll, Wayne, Holmes and Tuscarawas Counties and parts of Southeastern Ohio. It has 550 physicians on its Medical Staff and employs 2,500 people. Mercy operates outpatient health centers in Carrollton, Jackson Township, Lake Township, Louisville, North Canton, Plain Township and Tuscarawas County. A Catholic hospital, Mercy Medical Center upholds the mission and philosophy of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine and continues to be responsive to the needs of the community, including the provision of care to all, regardless of their ability to pay. For more information, see www.cantonmercy.com.