Health care system goes green

“Focusing resources on the way we use energy produces positive outcomes for our patients and the community.”

The Energy Trust of Oregon’s Strategic Energy Management announced that Salem Hospital was the largest contributor to reducing electricity use in the local cohort program in 2017. This comes as no surprise. For the past few years, Salem Hospital has been working hard to reduce cost — and its carbon footprint.

“At Salem Health, we care about our patients and the environment they live in,” said Bahaa Wanly, Salem Health chief operating officer. “I’m proud of our staff — especially front-line staff — for the hard work they do every day to make our organization operate more efficiently.”

Salem Hospital partners with SEM on opportunities to continually examine the health system’s operations and invest in technologies and practices that reduce operating costs, improve facility performance and protect the environment. In 2017, alone, Salem Hospital avoided 6.6 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions by purchasing renewable wind energy.

Salem Hospital has benefitted from Energy Trust of Oregon incentives designed to encourage organizations to address their energy use. Salem Hospital’s purpose for working with SEM is to make energy management an important part of institutional policies, procedures and decisions.

“Focusing resources on the way we use energy produces positive outcomes for our patients and the community,” said Melissa Bradley, facilities operations director. “Not only are we reducing our environmental footprint, we’re continuing to show financial savings.”

Numerous studies show reducing operational costs goes hand-in-hand with going green and cutting energy usage. Beginning in 2016, Salem Hospital began looking at ways it could reduce its environmental footprint and costs. A sample of the resulting projects include:

  • Purchasing electricity generated through renewable wind energy
  • Upgrading exterior LED lighting
  • Upgrading direct digital controls to adjust the air temperature based on schedules, set points and alarms.
  • Auditing existing systems to optimize and reduce energy use
  • Providing deeper operations and management staff training to empower all staff to seek ways to improve efficiencies
  • Fine tuning of building automation systems by front-line staff
  • Reducing steam system pressure in order to save energy
  • Implementing a hot water temperature reset strategy to help reduce energy by heating to only what is needed.
  • Studying technology for a direct digital control upgrade
  • Relocating the outside air sensor to improve reliability of temperature used for controlling major HVAC equipment
  • Implementing a discharge air temperature reset strategy
  • Upgrading the exterior building seals to prevent heating and cooling to leak from the buildings
  • Installing block heaters on two generators to help reduce wear, energy use and emissions
  • Raising temperature cooling for IT closets from 65° to 70° campus-wide
  • Developing an energy team and energy management assessment and action plan

About Salem Health: Salem Health offers exceptional care to people in and around Oregon’s Mid-Willamette Valley. It comprises hospitals in Salem and Dallas, a medical group of primary and specialty care providers, plus other affiliated services. Visit them at; “Like” them on; follow them on Twitter: @salemhealth; and view them at