Facility Dude


Newton Medical Center Reduces Water Usage by 40% with UtilityTrac Plus

By Amy Myers
Dec 12, 2012

Energy, Healthcare, Case Studies, Energy Management

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Newton Medical Center in Kansas is a 78-acre campus with 5 buildings. Shane Meier, Director of Facilities, wanted to better track utility consumption and identify ways to reduce costs. In his first year of using UtilityTrac Plus, he saved 11,000 gallons of water a day by replacing one piece of equipment, which reduced the hospital’s water usage by 40%.

Here is their story:

Utilities are one of the largest line items in the budget and you really can’t manage something if you can’t measure it. UtilityTrac Plus allows us to view all of our utilities together and has helped us control our expenses better. We can see how we are tracking this year versus the previous two years. This also helps us evaluate any improvements we made to see if we are achieving savings from the money we invested in projects.

By looking at the information in UtilityTrac Plus, we were able to see significant rate increases in water over the last two years. We started investigating how we could reduce our water usage and trying to find the “low hanging fruit”. After discussing several ideas about what uses water at the hospital, a member of the maintenance team identified an old vacuum pump. We did some calculations on the machine and were able to predict that replacing it would save a significant amount of water each day.

After replacing the vacuum pump, we are now seeing a 40% reduction in the hospital’s water usage. We were surprised by how much water the vacuum pump was using. It was essentially pumping 11,000 gallons of water a day down the drain!

One of the features we use most is being able to see normalized trending over the years. When we do projects, like a VAV conversion to help to control the airflow into the rooms so it meets, but not exceed, requirements for health regulations, we can track that project and verify it helped us save on heating expense.

We do what we can to save the hospital money. To be able to manage utility costs, you have got to be able to measure them effectively. Just looking at the bill once a month and seeing it’s up from last month or the month before that, it’s not an effective way to measure it. When the tools are there to graph the trend line over the last year and you can look at calendarized data versus normalized data, all of those are very beneficial, especially when it breaks it down by usage per day. It just helps us see the real picture of what we are actually spending.

We have to justify everything if we want to spend money. Using UtilityTrac Plus we can show where we’ve been consistently year after year, and where we anticipate being if we spend money on a proposed project. Having the decision makers be able to see that makes it a lot easier to get projects approved that are needed.

Bar graph of Newton Medical Center's water usage

We have been using UtilityTrac Plus for less than a year. It helped us identify water as our first area to focus on improving our usage and resulted in significant savings. We want to identify another area where we can save some money and now we have the tool to help us figure it out!

To download a .pdf copy of the case study, please click the link below.


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