In pursuit of better wellness and robust care, Corewell Health brought two of Michigan’s most respected health systems together, Spectrum and Beaumont Health. A staple healthcare provider in Michigan, Corewell Health provides medical services and programs throughout its healthcare facilities. The Corewell Health East Service Center in Southfield, Michigan is this year’s biggest loser in the Health/Hospital category.
Acquired in 2017 in order to consolidate what was then the Beaumont Shared Services, the Corewell Health East Service Center in Southfield, Michigan is currently home to 3,000 Corewell Heath East employees. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, this facility saw significant day-to-day occupancy reductions due to new work from home policies that were adopted by Corewell Health to protect the health of their employees. Due to the reduced
occupancy an initiative was created by leadership to reduce the operating costs of the facility. Staff from real estate, project design and construction, and facilities groups began looking at ways to optimize the performance of the building to better reflect its current usage patterns. One opportunity identified was the DTE Retro-Commissioning (RCx) program. In early 2021, Corewell Health approached DTE to participate in the RCx program in hopes of utilizing their expertise to identify operational efficiencies in the heating, cooling, and air conditioning systems of the facility. By the fall of 2021, they completed the implementation of the recommended DTE retro-commissioning measures which involved scheduling the air handling systems to better match building occupancy thereby saving over 2,000,000 kWh in the first year after implementation. In addition to seeing significant energy savings from this simple control strategy, Corewell Health was able to collect over $40,000 in rebates from DTE as well as an additional $20,000 in rebates from Consumers Energy, the facility’s natural gas provider. Additional energy savings projects completed by mid 2022 included upgrading the facility’s atrium lighting to LED and installing a variable frequency drive on a large supply fan. These infrastructure upgrades added an estimated 500,000 kWh/year of savings and Corewell Health was able to collect an additional $18,900 in rebates from DTE. Overall, Corewell Health achieved a weather-normalized source energy use intensity reduction of 13.30% during the 2022 Michigan Battle of the Buildings competition and about 20% in electrical savings due to these projects.
The energy cost savings of these projects had a significant impact on the organization. Non-profit healthcare organizations, such as Corewell Health, typically have very low operating margins in that range from 2 – 5% in good years. Cost savings from energy efficiency initiatives free up precious resources that go directly back into patient care. As Director of Energy Edna Lorenz stated, “every $1 saved is at least $20 that does not have to be collected from patients or insurers and can be invested back into achieving our goals as an organization.” These energy and utility cost savings projects support both Corewell Health’s organizational goal of reducing their carbon footprint as well as their vision to provide their patients with simple, affordable, equitable and exceptional healthcare.
Corewell Health continues to work on ways to track their energy consumption as well as ways to improve the operational efficiency of all of their facilities. They are constantly analyzing infrastructure needs to plan ahead for facility upgrades that integrate opportunities for improved energy efficiency that reduced life cycle costs. They continue to think strategically about the operation of their buildings and the systems put in place to ensure that their buildings are as efficient as possible.
They continue to work closely with DTE, Consumers Energy, and trusted community partners to ensure they are fully utilizing the resources and incentives available. It is very important to the organization that they reinvest incentives into future energy efficiency projects to reduce their utility cost. All of these efforts help them to continue to reduce utility costs all while providing exceptional patient care in their facilities.
We were excited to celebrate Corewell Health’s accomplishments in energy efficiency at our annual Michigan Energy Summit on April 18, 2023 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where they were awarded in the Health/Hospital Category!