News & Views

Feature Story

Kaiser Permanente Goes on an Energy Diet

Organization competes in Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® 2014 national building challenge to reduce energy costs and consumption

July 9, 2014



Two women at Oakland Medical CenterSolar film and manual window shades help keep Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center cool in direct sunlight. Just one of many energy-saving features at the new hospital.

In the spirit of popular weight-loss competitions, Kaiser Permanente will battle it out against more than 100 teams and 5,500 buildings across the country to see who can save the most energy this year.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2014 ENERGY STAR National Building Competition: Team Challenge provides resources for improving energy performance and brings a healthy dose of competition to the important work many organizations are doing to reduce their carbon footprints.

The challenge officially launches July 9, and will complement Kaiser Permanente’s ongoing work to reduce energy use, save on energy costs, and promote energy-efficiency at its medical centers.

Kaiser Permanente pledged in 2012 to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020 and launched an ambitious sustainable energy strategy that includes investing in clean and renewable energy sources and pursuing energy-conservation measures. But using less energy throughout a growing and widely dispersed network of medical campuses and other buildings is no small task.

Kaiser Permanente Chief Energy Officer Ramé Hemstreet says the national challenge will bring a fresh dose of motivation to facility managers, energy officers and others at Kaiser Permanente who are striving to build, operate and occupy energy-efficient buildings.

“We’re taking a page from the Kaiser Permanente playbook that says health is a team sport and when we work together everyone wins,” Hemstreet said. “We‘ll apply those same principles to reducing energy waste at our buildings.”

Kaiser Permanente starts the Battle of the Buildings challenge “weighing in” with a total (source) energy use of 335.8 kBtus per square foot. (This is an average among all Kaiser Permanente buildings, including hospitals, medical offices and office buildings). Hospitals tend to use more energy than other building types because they operate around the clock and require highly specialized operating environments. The average U.S. hospital uses about 400 kBtus per square foot.

Visit www.energystar.gov/battleofthebuildings for a list the competitors and their “starting weights,” and to keep an eye their progress as Battle of the Buildings continues.