Energy Conservation

Cleveland Clinic’s energy management work is an outgrowth of our sustainability commitment to our patients, community and caregivers. As population health payment models proliferate, the linkage between energy, pollution and human health intensifies. Energy efficiency is more aligned to our core mission than ever before.

Cleveland Clinic’s commitments to both affordable care and our external partnerships with ENERGYSTAR and the Better Buildings Challenge drive us to become 20% more energy efficient by 2020 from a 2010 baseline. In 2015, Cleveland Clinic continued implementing a $12 million enterprise energy demand reduction strategy to improve our energy efficiency and become less resource-intensive. By decreasing energy intensity, Cleveland Clinic is providing value for our patients and leading the industry in responsible healthcare operations.

Reduction Progress

Energy Use Intensity, or EUI, measures the energy consumed by a building relative to its size. Cleveland Clinic uses weather normalized source EUI which includes transmission, delivery and production losses of the source fuels as they are used for energy. Our goal is to reduce our EUI to 393 by 2020. As of December 2015, we have reduced our EUI by 12.4% from our 2010 baseline. Cleveland Clinic’s building portfolio is 16.1Million ft2 excluding parking lots and garages, with 20.7M ft2 including them.

Enterprsie Weather Normalized Source EUI

Progress Highlight

Cleveland Clinic’s Hillcrest Hospital implemented a variety of energy reduction strategies that contributed to its overall EUI reduction. In 2015, Hillcrest Hospital reduced its energy intensity more than 10% from its 2014 baseline, and became the first hospital in our enterprise to reach its reduction goal of 20%. Overall, Hillcrest Hospital has reduced its EUI 22.4% from its 2010 baseline. The Department of Energy recently showcased the project on the Better Buildings Challenge Website.

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Strategy Implementation

Our implementation strategy is fully resourced and supported by our executive leadership. This support includes initial capital spending and incentives realized from energy savings. Operational savings obtained are shared with building facility managers and operations teams to fund additional energy efficiency improvements. This helps to generate momentum and employee ownership of our energy policies. We allocated $14 million specifically for high payback energy projects.

Strategy Implementation 

Light Emitting Diodes (LED) Retrofit

Just keeping our lights on accounts for 16 percent of our total energy use. The cost of LEDs has reached the point where the payback makes sense, even in Ohio where electricity prices are low relative to other regions. Cleveland Clinic is standardizing 100% LED for new construction and replacing approximately 250,000 fluorescent tubes. Some of the benefits from this initiative include:

  • Cutting our electric consumption by 28,600,000 kilowatts each year – roughly the same as removing approximately 2,600 houses off the electrical grid – for a total annual savings of $2 million.
  • Reducing our carbon footprint by nearly 19,400 tons of CO2 annually – equivalent to taking 3,600 cars off the road.
  • Decreasing our waste, because LED lights last nearly 2.5 times longer than fluorescent lights – and they are mercury-free, which translates into safer disposal.
  • Creating nearly 20 new jobs in our community (between 5-10 in manufacturing and 10 in installation).

We have partnered with Energy Focus, a leading provider of energy efficient LED products and developer of energy efficient lighting technology, which is located in Solon, Ohio. The LED Lighting Project will create up to 10 new manufacturing jobs at Energy Focus, and they have already hired individuals from our Center for Autism. Additionally, 10 new installation jobs have been created for the Evergreen Cooperatives.



The EcoCaregiver™ employee engagement program was designed to build a culture of sustainability within Cleveland Clinic to reduce cost, waste and emissions while providing the highest quality medical care. In 2014, we launched an enterprise wide EcoCaregiverTM Training: Energy Savings & You. This mandatory training on energy demand management is required for all caregivers and continued throughout 2015. Nine months post-launch, more than 49,000 caregivers across the enterprise have completed the training. This 15-minute module will be updated and reassigned annually for all caregivers, including staff. It reinforces an organizational expectation for an environment of energy conversation and emphasizes the importance of individual caregiver contribution to our energy demand reduction goals. In addition to the training, we have developed a robust communications campaign to prompt desired workplace behaviors.

Operating Room (OR) Setbacks

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) is the single most energy-intensive component in our energy profile (51%). There are 215 operating rooms (ORs) across our health system (86 on our main campus) running multiple cases per day. Because of the ORs’ requirements for air changes per hour, strict temperature and humidity parameters, pressure relationships and energy-intensive (and often heat-generating) surgical lighting systems, OR HVAC systems came into sharp focus as our largest strategic priority for energy demand reduction.

In 2015, in collaboration with the Surgical Operations Executive Committee, the Facilities Department implemented an OR Setback plan to reduce energy while maintaining State and Federal regulations for air exchange.

Lighting Setbacks & Behavior

Building setbacks and caregiver education offer significant energy reduction opportunities. We have programmed our lighting systems to reduce usage during unoccupied periods for administrative areas and are creating a culture of conservation through an enterprise wide caregiver training initiative.

Chiller Optimization & Replacement

In partnership with Gardiner Trane, we implemented several chiller optimizations on main campus and several other hospitals. Chillers are machines used for cooling our facilities and contribute a significant portion of our HVAC costs. We anticipate savings of $650,000/year based on internal studies and an external study performed by a third party.

We replaced Medina Hospital’s 57 year-old boiler with a high-efficiency on-demand Miura boiler, which is expected to save more than $250,000 in energy costs per year and to deliver significant reductions in CO2 emissions. Medina Hospital reduced its EUI 14% in 2015 from its December 2015 baseline and won the Ohio Hospital Association’s Energy Cup for greatest year-over-year reduction for a large hospital. This reduction was more than 21 times the national average.

Filter Optimization

We initiated a filter optimization program to replace high-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filters with 14 high efficiency filters for non-surgical spaces and utilize a more energy efficient filter package across the system. The conversion is projected to save approximately 23% in fan power for all affected air handling units with variable speed drives and deliver almost $1 million in savings.


We optimized equipment condition, controls and programmed operating conditions to achieve a 40% savings at our Strongsville Family Health and Surgery Center. Additional facility retro-commissioning is planned in the future.

Integrated Building Management System (IBMS)

We integrated meter installations and developed energy dashboards to provide detailed building by building energy metering and monitoring. This resulted in caregivers competing to control their respective buildings at the lowest energy use per square foot.

Custom Interactive OR Suite Dashboard

Utility Bill Management

We utilize a third party firm to manage all of our utility bills. In addition to processing utility invoices, this firm performs extensive data mining and analytics at the building level, offering assurance of facility performance over time.

Better Buildings Challenge

Watch Jon Utech, Senior Director of Cleveland Clinic’s Office for a Healthy Environment, discuss the many different tactics employed by caregivers as part of the Better Buildings Challenge to develop sustainable practices and reduce energy use.

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EUI Reduction

Cleveland Clinic has reduced its energy intensity 12.4% from its 2010 baseline!