The typical hospital has an average of 235 EUI (the average office building uses just 53 EUI). More than half of this energy in hospitals is for HVAC systems for infection control and comfort. Cooking for patient meal service and on-site cafeterias represents another significant energy use, as do lighting, computers and medical equipment needed to operate 24/7 in the hospital environment.
Energy solutions come in two varieties: the demand side and the supply side.
The demand side is the on-site consumption and management of energy, that is, the amount of energy a hospital uses day-to-day. Think lighting, ventilation, heating, and cooling systems. In a hospital where care is 24/7/365, the demand for continuous energy is high.
The supply side is how energy is created, and the ability to fulfill the energy demand. This includes any on-site electric generation (for example, roof-mounted solar panels) or subscribing to a large-scale, community-wide energy generation program.
To achieve a net-zero structure requires a holistic approach addressing both the supply and demand sides of energy. Achieving a net-zero rating for hospitals is rare in the modern market and requires diligence and creativity. The best strategy is to minimize consumption first, on the demand side, and then generate the necessary energy in a clean, renewable way, on the supply side. Energy use by considering the needs of specialized spaces as well as building codes and requirements will lead to a more efficient plan and ease the strain on the supply side.