Stories & Features

Want to be energy efficient? Set building-specific reduction targets

Image of Langley Memorial Hospital
Langley Memorial Hospital is one of 12 hospitals under the Fraser Health Authority, which is trying to reduce facilities' per-square-foot energy use by 15% by 2020.

Fraser Health's use of site-specific targets is first for a B.C. health authority

Robert Bradley likes having big, audacious goals. Since signing on as Fraser Health's energy manager in 2008, Bradley has tackled more than 100 energy projects across the health region and spearheaded dozens of carbon reduction initiatives, all while watching his facilities portfolio grow.

Fraser Health is the fastest growing health authority in British Columbia. Since 1986, the area's population has almost doubled and today it services approximately 1.7 million people, accounting for more than one third of British Columbians. In just 10 years, its facilities and staffing portfolios have increased significantly and by 2019 the Fraser Health population is expected to increase by 163,000 people to 1.86 million.

I know what's actually achievable at each site, and can better prioritize the need for improvement projects at certain locations.

Bradley, however, remains on track to meet his end goal: reducing the health authority's energy use per square foot by 15% by 2020.

Currently, Fraser Health administers 12 hospitals and a number of residential facilities/treatment centres, of which, "no two are alike," says Bradley. The size, age and energy intensity of each building varies, and each site generally has its own facilities maintenance and operations personnel.

It was these differences Bradley says that pushed him to set customized energy reduction targets for 18 of the health authority's largest sites. "With site-specific targets, I'm better able to account for a building's unique attributes in my calculations, such as the age and efficiency of the HVAC system or the lighting technology in use," he says. "This way, I know what's actually achievable at each site, and can better prioritize the need for improvement projects at certain locations."

Bradley's tactic also ensures that each facility manager has a specific energy reduction goal to work toward. "Over the years, I've seen that when our facilities maintenance and operations teams have clear targets and understand the why behind why we're tackling a project, implementation is much smoother, and we reach our reduction targets even quicker."

Jeff Whitson, Fraser Health's key account manager at BC Hydro, wholeheartedly agrees with Bradley and applauds his targeted approach: "Fraser Health's use of site-specific reduction targets is a first for a B.C. health authority, and from what we've seen so far the approach is extremely effective."

Image of Fraser Canyon Hospital
Fraser Canyon Hospital at Hope.

Early involvement, clear expectations and recognition help with rollout

Introducing building-specific reduction targets is no small feat. From the get-go, Bradley established strong relationships with facility managers and set out to learn everything he could about each building's energy conservation potential.

"Setting building-specific targets is a collaborative process," says Bradley. "Facility managers need to feel supported by the energy management team in order to be successful – energy management isn't their only responsibility. Their buy-in is incredibly important.

Bradley recognizes facility managers for a job well done by sharing their achievements every quarter with Fraser Health's senior Lower Mainland Facilities Management administrators and BC Hydro. "Sharing successes and difficulties is a big part of our process, plus fostering a little friendly competition between sites never hurts," he says. "In fact, it's motivating."

With reduction targets firmly in place, Bradley continues to focus on project implementation and performance monitoring. In the year ahead, he intends on completing 20 improvement projects at eight sites, fulfilling the plan as envisioned.