The University of Washington Integrated Design Lab has an ongoing research project that looks at the energy use in U.S. hospitals compared to their Scandinavian counterparts. The preliminary findings are very interesting and seem to indicate that modern hospitals in Sweden and Norway use less than half of the total energy per square foot than similar Pacific Northwest counterparts.

The preliminary findings of the group are not unique. The 2003 study “Greener Hospitals” by the Environment Science Center in Augsburg, Germany, published findings that U.S. and Canadian hospitals utilize more than twice the energy of other developed countries based on research from CADDET.

So how can facilities with similar functions be so different in energy intensity and usage? In the coming weeks I hope to explore some of the differences and identify factors that may be influencing healthcare energy usage in these countries. With luck, we can identify some factors that may help us in our goal to reduce overall energy consumption in hospitals.

In the meantime let me leave you with these questions: What do you think is important at looking at the energy usage in U.S. healthcare facilities? Is there anything you would change immediately to help reduce energy usage?