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A Bright Idea for Improvement: United Health Services

Crothall Healthcare’s Facilities Management Division is dedicated to ensuring peak performance for health care systems so clinicians and support staff can offer the best possible care to their patients. United Health Services (UHS), the largest health care provider in New York State’s Southern Tier, included Facilities Management in their portfolio of Crothall service contracts and are already enjoying the benefits.

Crothall’s Project Services Group developed, planned and executed a comprehensive turnkey lighting retrofit project at Wilson Medical Center and Binghamton General Hospital, UHS’ two largest facilities. Crothall also provided a tranche of the capital required for the upgrade and managed the third-party investment that rounded out the project’s $1.9 million budget.

“The return on investment seemed too good to be true,” said Richard Keehle, UHS Director

of Support Services. “We didn’t have to infuse our own capital and our energy bills are already lower when we compare months year-on-year. With no injuries or safety concerns during the retrofit, we’re all very pleased.”

Assessed for Success

The project began with efficient information gathering. Crothall began to serve UHS’ five-hospital system in 2015 with Facilities Management and Environmental Services, as well as Morrison Healthcare providing Food & Nutrition Services. The initial contract included a Facility Condition Assessment (FCA) for Wilson Medical Center, Binghamton General Hospital and three other UHS sites, which was undertaken to provide a road map for infrastructure capital reinvestment.

Thorough assessment yielded first priorities. The energy audit conducted as part of the FCA, revealed numerous opportunities to reduce UHS’ energy cost and carbon footprint. One of the more attractive measures identified was to upgrade the existing energy inefficient fluorescent lighting with state-of-the-art Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology. Ultimately, UHS chose to implement this measure at Wilson Medical Center and Binghamton General Hospital. Return-on-investment estimates were developed and presented to assist in client decision making.

By the Numbers

$250,000 Estimated Annual Savings after LED Retrofit

$85,000 Estimated Annual Maintenance Cost Reductions

$0 Upfront Requirement from Client

A Free and Easy Client Experience

Crothall managed a complete lighting overhaul. Fixtures for incandescent, fluorescent and halogen lighting were retrofitted to accept more efficient LED replacements. Crothall Project Services Group also selected vendors that created a customized solution to retrofitting fluorescent fixtures with required equipment. The project as installed qualified for third party efficiency incentives in excess of $300,000. Final (as-built) documentation, including associated energy savings were validated by a third party independent engineering firm.

The client reaped the benefits without spending a dollar. Crothall’s parent company, Compass Group, provided a portion of the capital to fund the retrofit project. Third-party investment capital organized by Crothall made up the difference.

“This was a surprisingly easy transition from an impact perspective,” said Stephen Mosher, Crothall Resident Regional Director for UHS. “Work crews were in and out, and some staff members expressed their appreciation in unexpected ways. For one thing, some said they never knew what color the hallway paint was before.”

The project brought operations to the attention of the staff. Some doctors and other staff members required a more tailored retrofit in clinical offices and operating rooms (ORs) because of specific lighting needs and preferences. “We usually saved even more energy by fulfilling these needs,” said Mosher. “It also helped from a client relations standpoint because the clinicians knew we would listen and make the changes for them.”

“Too Good to Be True”

UHS’ financial future is well illuminated. The LED retrofit is projected to save UHS $250,000 per year in reduced energy expenditures. In addition, the elimination of more expensive and maintenance intensive lighting equipment will save the system approximately $85,000 annually.

The savings can be counted in more than money. Crothall’s vendor relations made the LED project possible as well as efficient. UHS personnel formerly occupied with lighting maintenance are now freed up for more constructive and vital tasks around Wilson Medical Center and Binghamton General Hospital. The client can easily document time and money savings in Crothall’s energy use portal interface.

Strong When United

Crothall’s comprehensive management of health care support services at UHS ensured seamless planning, coordination and execution of the lighting upgrade project.

“Crothall managers have a common language that is a big advantage,” said Keehle. “Managers work on their own but they know what each other are doing, and they can take over from each other in a moment when necessary. A single point of contact for all those contracts is also very helpful.”