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Success Story

Saving energy allows Samaritan Health to invest more in patient care

The Samaritan Health Services hospitals in Albany and Lebanon are integral to the health and wellbeing of the communities they serve. The Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital is a small rural hospital serving east Linn County communities, while the Samaritan Albany General is an acute care facility and health center providing medical services to the greater Albany area.

In response to increased demand for the hospitals’ services, Samaritan Health looked to minimize energy use to help reduce costs and reallocate funds to improve the quality of patient care.

“Energy efficiency is a priority for facility managers. It’s been a cornerstone of our planned capital improvement projects,” said Samaritan Health’s energy manager, Michael Martin, who recently retired after managing facility operations for over 20 years.

Samaritan Health’s long-standing dedication to energy efficiency made participating in Energy Trust of Oregon’s Strategic Energy Management (SEM) offering an easy choice. SEM educates businesses and organizations on how to make lasting operational changes that save energy.

Through the educational workshops, tools and resources available through SEM, the Samaritan Health facilities teams learned more about the energy required to operate their respective facilities and how to optimize equipment so it operates at peak efficiency.

Lebanon Community Hospital’s engineering services manager, Layne Hayes, says participating in SEM gives him and his team the valuable knowledge they need to communicate the importance of improving efficiency. “SEM helps us educate administrators about equipment health and how upgrades will save us money in the long run,” he said.

Getting field-tested practices that are proven to save energy in place was something Samaritan Health maintenance staff wanted to see as a result of participating in SEM. They recognized there was practical knowledge about energy efficiency they stood to gain that would be beneficial to not only them but the entire organization as well.

“Energy efficiency fits right into our sustainability goals and helps us be better stewards of our environment,” said Martin. “Becoming more sustainable is the driving force behind our participation in SEM.” Samaritan Health has received nearly $54,000 in SEM incentives for the Albany and Lebanon hospitals since the organization began participating in 2020.

Participation in SEM helped Samaritan Health energy teams develop the habit of proactively seeking out available cash incentives for energy-saving equipment that would reduce energy consumption and improve the organization’s bottom line. As a result, Samaritan Health completed several projects using Energy Trust cash incentives to reduce their out-of-pocket costs.

One of those projects was upgrading a failing temperature sensor on the equipment that supplied water to the cooling tower and irrigation at Lebanon General Hospital. The broken sensor was causing water to be pumped when it wasn’t needed, causing significant water waste.

The new variable frequency drive that Samaritan Health installed alongside the replacement well pump will save the hospital $3,000 in annual energy costs in addition to dramatically reducing the hospital’s water consumption. The facilities team estimates Lebanon General Hospital is saving 20,000 gallons of water a day from being wasted thanks to this project.

Meanwhile, Albany General Hospital is saving nearly $52,000 a year on energy costs thanks to new, energy-efficient steam traps that help its boilers run less frequently and upgraded roof insulation.