Medical Clinic Energy Case Study: Eye Doctor Saves 75% on His Energy Bills
The average per-kilowatt electric cost in Georgia is about 11 cents. So when Dr. Pittman, owner of Professional Eye Care near Savannah, discovered he was paying over 17 cents per kilowatt – he decided he was done getting gouged.
Look at the difference between Dr. Pittman’s power bills in April of 2016 compared to April of 2017.
How did Dr. Pittman achieve savings of over $320 per month (which projects to nearly $4000 per year)?
He installed an 18 kW solar array on the roof of his strip-mall-based eye clinic. This one-time investment will return him about $4000 per year in savings for 25 to 40 years – even more as the price of electricity keeps climbing. It produced about 80 kWh per day in April of 2017. On nice days it surpassed 100 kWh.
In just two months, Dr. Pittman’s solar energy production system saved over 10,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air and powered the equivalent of over 20,000 lightbulbs for one day. The image to the right shows his exact numbers.
Medical Clinic Energy Costs
Hospitals spend an average of $1.67 per square foot on energy costs. This compares to just $1.34 for typical office buildings. Why is it so much higher for hospitals and medical clinics?
For one, making patients feel as comfortable as possible is extra important. So while a regular office might be able to cut a few corners on their heating or air conditioning, a doctor’s office can’t.
Another reason is that most medical clinics use a lot of energy-intensive equipment, and there’s no way to reduce this electricity dependence. It’s what they do. An eye doctor is no exception. Everything from retinal cameras to binocular indirect ophthalmoscopes to that old standby, the phoropter, rely on electricity. And like any technology, the newer it is, the more energy it seems to need, the ocular coherence tomograph being one example.
While a few energy-saving behaviors can make a small difference, there’s simply no way an eye doctor can go without all this equipment. The same is true for any other medical practitioner. There is no way to cut your energy bill by 75%, instantly, and never have to worry about it again.
Typical efficiency tips suggest good ideas like maintaining your HVAC systems, buying more efficient lighting, not leaving lights on in empty rooms, and powering down unused equipment. In a doctor’s office, doing all that might, at best, save you 10% on your bill. And not without ongoing expense.
But with his bill-slashing solar array, Dr. Pittman can now keep his focus on his patients, and he can utilize these and other efficiency improvements as time permits.
Dr. Pittman’s eye clinic speaks to the benefits of solar energy for medical clinics in general. These facilities are typically in standalone buildings, perhaps ones with a few other tenants, or in strip malls like Dr. Pittman’s. Electricity is very often the number one operating expense besides rent.
For any medical clinic with a good roof situation without too many obstructions, solar panels can save you thousands of dollars per year, and allow you to recover your investment in just a few years, earning you free energy for decades afterward.