Sustainability Kaizen saves green and stays green

Beaumont Green TeamThe Green Team's Sustainability Kaizen at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak swept campus over the last few months and implemented eco-friendly and cost-effective solutions to the issues they discovered.

Many of the recent Green Team Kaizens were successful, but there are two examples that particularly stand out: lighting and the outdoor campus.

While looking at the lighting in the South Tower in April, people noticed that many areas seemed excessively lit. Lights remained fully on in some places, even when no one was around. A team first removed one light of each of the 24 fixtures in the hallway of four floors. They've done the same on 9 and 6 South. This results in savings of $3,447 a year per floor.

Another trial involved the cove lighting in 9 South. "Some areas were just way too bright," says Ross Hardy, electrical supervisor, of the initial problem. They decided to remove more lamps and in some places removing every other.

The task of saving money and energy is not as simple as just unscrewing lightbulbs. "We had to be careful so as to not take out emergency lighting," Ross says. "You also have to meet two different codes. There's the Michigan energy code that says you can't use a certain amount of light for energy reasons but then you must balance that with a code saying how much light needs to be available."

The team removed the remaining cove lights from the South Tower patient floors. They made other lighting changes in the area, such as switching PC monitors to sleep mode and considering sensors in certain lobbies. The annual expense reduction for the April lighting Kaizen was $26,309. "It's light reduction without any downside," says Ross. "No one notices, and it results in cost and energy savings. The more reduction we can do the better."

A project for the next two to three years is to replace the T12 with T8 lights in many areas of the hospital. This will save the hospital around $500,000 a year. For the entire Beaumont Health System, LED and compact fluorescent lights have or will replace the parking deck lighting, saving $120,000 a year. In August, the pole lights will be switched to LED as well.

Problems raised on the Kaizens did not just occur within Beaumont's walls, but stepped outdoors also. The Sustainable Campus Kaizen in June resulted in large financial and environmental savings for the hospital. Nick Aseltine, exterior service manager, helped assist in the landscape project. "When the heat came, a lot of the plants weren't doing well, so they were watered more," he says. "But when it cooled off, the irrigation system was over watering the plants." The team was able to shut off the system completely in areas that didn't need water.