Assisted Living facility administrators and operators are always on the hunt for the next big thing that will both improve resident experience and operational efficiency. Residents and their families choose facilities based on various factors, but comfort and price always seem to rise to the top in terms of importance.
Decreasing costs allows assisted living facility leaders to increase efficiency in operations while also maintaining affordable prices. One area primed for change is the way energy is utilized to light assisted living facilities.
The following tips to help increase energy efficiency and reduce costs in assisted living facilities are:
- Retrofit to LED Lighting – Retrofitting to LED lighting brings a variety of benefits to your facility from cost savings, increased safety, fewer maintenance calls, to the potential for improvement in residents’ moods.
- LEDs yield cost savings from day one. Specifically, LEDs offer exceptional light quality at a fraction of the cost of traditional lighting and are 80% more efficient than traditional light bulbs. Administrators should be paying less each month than what you will save with LED lighting. It is a standard part of the process for a supplier partner to develop a custom finance package for each client, driven by energy savings, to upgrade to LED lighting with no upfront costs. LED lighting also has an exponentially longer lifespan. This means facility owners not only save on electricity bills but also on maintenance costs by not needing to replace lights, especially those hard-to-reach external lighting fixtures under canopies.
- Residents and employees enjoy better safety with LED lighting. With a properly designed lighting system, your facility can completely avoid the dark spots that conceal tripping hazards. Illumination generated from LEDs is a significant upgrade over lighting of the past, both internal and external applications of incandescent and fluorescent lights. Your LED provider should provide a lighting a design customized exclusively for your facility.
- Lighting can impact moods, circadian rhythms and health in general. In fact, some research has associated fluorescent lighting with negative effects on mood and health. Making the switch to LED lighting allows you to customize your lighting temperature and operate with a full-spectrum of light, similar to natural light. Retrofitting you facility with LED lighting will allow you to further support your residents’ health.
- Pay Big Attention to Small Improvements – What some facility administrators may view as minor equipment and structural improvements may have a large effect on energy efficiency. Making structural and equipment improvements, while generally not an inexpensive undertaking, can be necessary for maximizing energy savings and increasing the lifetime of your building. Consider updating HVAC units, sealing doors and windows, and insulating walls. Upgrade your systems and watch your bills decrease, quickly paying back what was invested in improvements. These sorts of improvements typically reduce draftiness and increase residents’ comfort as well.
- Maintain! - While especially true for older structures, renovated and even newly constructed facilities can experience equipment failures and inefficiencies if they are not properly maintained. So before making any structural or equipment improvements, ensure your staff has the knowledge and a routine for scheduled maintenance to sustain the facility in the long-term.
- Let the Louisiana Sun Shine - There are many benefits to going solar, but energy savings are key for this industry. Why not utilize one of Louisiana’s most abundant natural resources?
- The assisted living industry is a good candidate for commercial solar systems because facilities tend to have rooftop square footage to spare, generally have high utility bills due to hours of operation, and owners plan to remain in the same facility for years to come.
- It helps to go solar with a utility that supports commercial net metering, which credits you for the excess energy that you send back to the grid. However, assisted living facilities can go solar without net metering, as long as you size your system so that you consume all of the solar energy it produces on-site. If you are looking to maximize your system size to fit your roof space, however, it’s helpful to have a net meter.