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Antonio Pedro Alves de Carvalho – Professor at Universidade Federal da Bahia Patrícia Farias Uchôa – Assistant professor Universidade Federal da Bahia

Strategies for energy optimisation

Energy consumption in hospitals has many peculiar characteristics and demands the constant attention of health services manager, not only because of its high cost and maintenance problems of the energy grid supplier, but also because of its environmental impact. Because energy use in hospitals can directly power life saving equipment, the energy supply needs to be reliable with maximum efficiency – a difficult balance to strike. This study presents the actions taken to optimise the energy use in hospitals representative of those in the city of Salvador in Brazil.

According to Shepers and Decome,1 climate

control and lighting represent about 80% of the energy consumption of hospitals, requiring the constant implementation of strategies for optimisation, reduction and environmental compliance for these activities. This approach is necessary considering the reality of cost pressures in health services, as are discussions about the role of these structures in the emission of greenhouse gases. Because electric power is used throughout

a hospital, there are benefits from economies of scale when considering the total energy consumption of the building, by taking small deliberate actions, such as protecting facades from sunlight or repositioning lighting fixtures.2

Once a culture of saving energy is

instilled, the entire institution benefits, as well as the urban area where it is located. Each institution is at its own stage of

‘Once a culture of saving energy is instilled, the entire institution benefits, as well as the urban area where it is located.’


adoption of energy saving measures, but its experience can be an important demonstration of what can be achieved, serving as an example for others. The city of Salvador has 34 general

hospitals. For the study a selection of hospitals was made that allowed for a better understanding of the situation of the measures taken, regarding this subject in the region. Exploratory visits were conducted at four large hospitals (over 100 beds) in the city considering that this size hospital would benefit most from the measures. Since most of the hospitals are state-run, the two largest public general hospitals were chosen – one being federal and the other of the state. In regards to the charity and private hospitals, one of each type was chosen among the largest and most modern hospitals. In Figure 1 the distribution of all general hospitals in Salvador is shown by the number of beds, without identification, in order to maintain the confidentiality of the study. During the visits, surveys were taken that

were developed for those responsible for the maintenance of the hospitals, which focused on the unit’s profile (number of beds, constructed area and occupants per day), on the characteristics of the high energy consuming equipment (air conditioner, lighting, etc) and on the actions taken by the unit to optimise energy use in the last 10 years. A picture was created about the current stage of implementation of optimisation strategies and environmental compliance of energy consumption of the larger hospitals in the region, showing paths that can be taken in units in areas of similar socio-economic condition, as well as obstacles and challenges.

The results Profile of state-run hospital 1 – This hospital is composed of five buildings with an average of four floors and 28,000 m2


constructed area. It has 192 beds and 4,000 to 5,000 occupants per day. • Air conditioning: The system determined to be the main energy consumer was the central air conditioning system, which does not provide for the entire complex. This system is complemented by window units and split type units. The hospital

• Lighting: There are independent controls installed for turning on and off lighting fixtures in the same environment (lighting fixtures near windows and lighting fixtures near the entryway). This allows for taking advantage of natural light and saving energy. Fluorescent light bulbs are used in the building.

staff do not have control over the purchase of this equipment, which is acquired in a centralised manner by the state. Situations were observed where two systems are used simultaneously in the same environment, such as central air conditioning and a window unit. This is possibly due to the fact that the central air conditioning system is undersized.

• Other equipment: This health services establishment does not have a boiler system for heating water. The equipment

Antonio Pedro Alves de Carvalho

Antonio Pedro Alves de Carvalho has a Doctorate in Organization of Space from the Universidade Estadual Paulista with a post- doctorate from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Currently he is editor-in-chief of publications of the Brazilian Association for the Development of the Hospital Building (ABDEH) and associate professor of the Universidade Federal da Bahia. He has experience in the area of Architecture and Urban Planning, with emphasis on building planning and design.

Patrícia Farias Uchôa

Patrícia Farias Uchôa has a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture and Urban Planning from the Universidade Federal da Bahia, a graduate specialisation in Workplace Safety Engineering and a Master’s degree in Health, Environment, and the Workplace from the College of Preventive Medicine of the Universidade Federal da Bahia. Currently she is conducting research on hospital architecture and is an assistant professor in the Department of Geometry of Graphic Representations of the College of Architecture and Urban Planning of the Universidade Federal da Bahia.


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