High Value Found in Small Changes

Small changes can add up to big savings and our company knows that very well. Since 2015, we have identified hundreds of opportunities to reduce emissions and energy and water consumption, equating to more than $11 million in cost savings.

Teams of employees found those savings on Energy Treasure Hunts, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program we rolled out to 11 facilities worldwide that challenged the teams to find impactful ways to save energy and water and align with the goal of continuous improvement. To date, the changes have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 19%, energy consumption by more than 16% and water consumption by more than 12%.

As a recognized leader in this area and after receiving the Energy Star Partner of the Year award for four years, achieving Sustaining Partner Status this year, we were asked by the EPA to share our expertise with OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington, Illinois. “Given our own success, we jumped at the opportunity when the EPA approached us to help with training sessions on how to conduct the Treasure Hunts at a hospital and to help lead the actual event,” says Bill Perhacs, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Global Energy Services Lead.

He, along with colleague Zack Newman, Global Energy Services Manager, joined the hospital team to come up with more than $206,000 in energy savings, which equated to 15% of the hospital’s total energy spend.

A hospital’s round-the-clock operation is different from that of a research company, so the timeframe for the Treasure Hunt was compressed from its usual three days to one. “Naturally, in this kind of a setting patient care comes first when considering any changes,” Bill says. “A very big part of any hospital’s energy consumption is heating and cooling for patient comfort and well-being, so we looked for opportunities in these areas.”

Those opportunities included HVAC setbacks, lighting improvements, steam system and inefficient motor upgrades, repairing leaky ducts and applying for rebates for certain energy upgrades.

The potential savings were significant for the hospital. “It would take us $1 million in revenue to earn an equivalent amount of profit,” says Paul Pedersen, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, St. Joseph Medical Center. “Job well done.”

The success of the Treasure Hunt at St. Joseph Medical Center will pave the way for other hospitals to participate. The EPA Energy Star Program and The American Society for Health Care Engineering of the American Hospital Association are planning to roll out Treasure Hunts to other healthcare institutions in the coming years.

“Not only was participating in this Treasure Hunt the right thing to do as an Energy Star Partner and for the hospital,” Bill says, “but it also aligns with our vision to partner with and support our own affiliated hospitals to provide the best possible care to patients.”