We tend not to think of it this way, but hospitals are among high-energy guzzlers. In an era where ‘Going Green' is trending, it is time for hospitals to look at much more than saving lives – saving power.

As per the Indian Electricity Scenario document released by the Ministry of Power, the estimated electricity consumption of Indian hospitals (public and private sector) ranges between 69 KWh and 1538 KWh, financially valued between Rs.432 crore and Rs.874 crore. The report mentioned that private hospitals consume the highest amount of electricity.

Hosmac India, Mumbai, a healthcare consultancy firm, recently commissioned a regional study to flesh out some of these estimates. Vivek Desai, its Managing Director, says the larger corporate hospitals would spend even up to Rs.500 per bed per day on electricity; and the smaller hospitals, upto Rs.300 per bed, per day. In terms of actual usage, air-conditioning systems, hi-end diagnostic and treatment equipment, lighting would consume a bulk of power requirement. “It is not mandatory to make hospitals ‘green' yet. But of course, there is LEED certification, and the World Bank has made it mandatory for healthcare projects being funded by it,” Dr. Desai says.

Dr. Desai suggests three primary ways of energy savings. Firstly, design – allow as much natural light and ventilation as possible within the hygiene standards. Ideally this would have to start at the plan stage itself. Secondly, review the aircon systems periodically; and thirdly, set up sewerage treatment plants to recycle water from the toilets to be used for the aircon plant. Periodic energy audits will help fine-tune processes. Small changes like changing all lights to CFL or LED technologies will also help.

Building Automation Systems are in place in a few hospitals, he says. For instance, lights and airconditioners will be cut off automatically, if a room is empty. But the biggest change will only occur if the hospital staff takes steps to advance the ‘Green mandate', he reiterates.