New fixtures shed light on savings at University

Switching out light bulbs could help Uni­versity Hospital save more than $400,000 a year on its electric bill and be more environmentally friendly, an official said Thursday.

 

The hospital’s board of directors voted to spend $1.32 million to switch out 10,000 lights, a move that will pay for itself in less than three years, according to information presented to the board.

The move is expected to save $445,000 a year, and the decreased energy demand would reduce carbon dioxide emissions from a coal-fired power plant by more than 3,500 tons a year, said Kyle Howell, Uni­versity’s vice president of support and facilities services.

Much of the change will involve replacing older T12 fluorescent light fixtures with more energy-efficient T8 fluorescent lights, Howell said. The Ener­gy Independence and Se­cur­ity Act of 2007 set new standards for energy efficiency for light bulbs,
and the T12s have notlonger been made since last year.

Lighting in areas such as parking decks “provide a lot of light, but they are energy hogs,” Howell said, and those will also be changed out.

Part of the plan is to equip lights that are on all the time with devices such as motion sensors so they are not lit when no one is using them, Howell said.

In other business Thurs­day, the board reviewed the year-end financial report, which showed $456 million in total revenue and $44 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization – nearly $6 million below budget.

Taking into account $5 million from the Georgia Hospital Tax, $30.8 million in depreciation and amortization, and more than $8 million in interest meant the health care system essentially had “a break-even year,” said Dave Belkoski, University’s chief financial officer.

That includes the expense of adding more physician practices and about 400 employees, which also accounts for more revenue, he said.

“That portion of our business is growing as we diversify,” Belkoski said.

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