Energy-saving pilot program yields positive results for Ridgeview Medical Center

WACONIA, MN--Nov. 7, 2012--Can significant dollars be saved by getting people to change their behaviors regarding energy use? That is the question that was asked as part of an innovative pilot launched at Ridgeview Medical Center in spring 2012. The goal of the pilot, funded by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, was to test whether a systematic program to raise awareness and engage employees would actually change employee behavior and consequently save Ridgeview money.

Class 5 Energy, based in White Bear Lake, Minn., brought its expertise in behavior-based energy programs with K–12 schools to hospitals like Ridgeview. Ridgeview, for its part, provided a team of employees and commitment from the leadership to support the pilot and adapt the program from a school setting to a health care setting.

“Ridgeview has been a leader in sustainability programs and has a national reputation in the health care community for their commitment to environmental responsibility. So they were a natural partner for this pilot,” said Amy Anderson, general manager for Class 5 Energy. “And the great results that have been achieved with this pilot only reinforce that excellent reputation.”

To monitor the pilot, Class 5 Energy tracks Ridgeview’s gas and electric bills with its utility tracking software and provides Ridgeview with quarterly reports. For the most recent three months of tracking, Ridgeview Medical Center had an overall savings of 16 percent on its energy bills, which equated to more than $41,000 in avoided costs. Eleven of 13 buildings saw reductions, some as high as a 25 percent reduction in energy use.

According to Robert Stevens, president and CEO of Ridgeview Medical Center, “This has been an organization-wide effort, across all of our hospital and clinic buildings, through which all employees have been asked to see energy as a controllable cost and to do their part to reduce consumption and improve efficiency. These results show that their collective efforts have resulted in real savings for Ridgeview while also being good stewards of the environment.”

Some successful aspects of the Ridgeview pilot have included:

  • recruiting an employee representative in each department known as an EPA (Energy Protection Agent) to provide education and encourage participation;
  • adding automatic timers to equipment—such as copy machines and other non–patient care equipment—that can be shut off during non-use hours;
  • creating a steering committee of cross-departmental representatives throughout Ridgeview to lead the effort and measure impact.

Everyone can make a difference

Everyone can play a role in reducing energy consumption and, ultimately, saving money. Here are a few tips people can utilize both at home and at work:

  • Turn off your computer monitor when you’re done using it.
  • Switch off the lights when you leave any unoccupied room.
  • Dress in layers rather than adjusting the thermostat.
  • Use task lighting or natural light whenever possible.
  • Take responsibility for saving energy. Every little thing you do makes a big difference.

About Ridgeview Medical Center

Ridgeview is an independent, regional health care network serving the west-metro area. Its award-winning network includes the Waconia-based acute care hospital, numerous primary and specialty care clinics, emergency services, specialty programs and Two Twelve Medical Center in Chaska. For more information about Ridgeview Medical Center and its clinics, visit www.ridgeviewmedical.org.

For more information about Ridgeview’s role in the pilot program, please e-mail Todd Wilkening, director, Facility Services, Ridgeview Medical Center, at todd.wilkening@ridgeviewmedical.org.

About Class 5 Energy

Class 5 Energy is a private company based in White Bear Lake that provides consulting and product services related to behavior-based energy-saving programs. Class 5 has been successful in reducing energy costs by more than $25 million in over 750 buildings since it began working in this field in 2003.