Strategies for Energy Efficient Lighting in Hospitals

Energy Efficient Lighting in Hospitals

Hospital administrators are under constant pressure to manage their facilities in the face of demands for high-quality medical services but with reduced revenues from healthcare reimbursement entities. This tension forces administrators to reduce expenses where they can without impacting the quality of those services. Many hospitals are finding that they can both reduce facility expenses and improve their physical plants with Energy Efficient Lighting in Hospitals.

Energy Efficient Lighting in Hospitals is Safer and Cost-Effective

That energy efficient lighting is best provided by LEDs. By at least one measure from the U.S. Department of Energy, lighting accounts for more than 10% of a typical hospital’s electrical energy consumption. With lighting in hospitals, even a small, 100-bed hospital can save more than $20,000 per year in operating expenses. That hospital will also reduce its carbon footprint and place less of a load on power generating facilities and any backup power systems that hospitals might need in the event that their main power supplies fail. If a hospital with as few as 100 beds were to allocate $100,000 for an LED lighting retrofit or upgrade, it would recover that investment in less than five years, and it would continue to realize savings well beyond that recovery period. Energy efficient LED lighting in hospitals will also last longer than traditional lighting and require less maintenance and repairs. 

By definition, hospitals are charged with providing safe facilities for their patients. Traditional high-intensity discharge (HID) hospital lighting could expose patients to hazardous materials, including mercury vapor, if those HID fixtures were to break. Unlike those traditional fixtures, LEDs contain no hazardous materials that could compromise patient health and safety. Any healthcare organization that seeks a further rationale to switch to energy efficient lighting in hospitals need look no further than the dangers posed by hazardous materials in older lighting technologies.

The Benefits of Energy Efficient Lighting in Hospitals

LED lighting also gives hospitals unprecedented control over the biological impact of their artificial lighting on patients. Traditional fluorescent or HID lighting includes light in a brighter optical spectrum that can interfere with patient sleep patterns. With energy efficient LED lighting in hospitals, a medical facility can tune the relative warmth of its lighting to better match a patient’s natural rhythms and to encourage better rest and recovery.

In more complex medical procedures, including surgeries, physicians will appreciate the better color rendering capabilities that LED lighting can provide. Artificial light with spectral characteristics that are skewed away from natural sunlight tends to wash out colors and increase the difficulty in perceiving subtle color contrasts on objects and surfaces. LED lighting with a higher color rendering index is better able to bring out those contrasts and to give surgeons a better visual field for their procedures.

LED hospital lighting can also help to reduce fatigue among hospital staff that often work long hours or through evening and overnight shifts. Certain wavelengths of light have been shown to to suppress fatigue and increase alertness. Energy efficient lighting in hospitals will therefore not only lead to savings for a healthcare facility, but will also further improve patient safety by keeping health care professionals more alert and focused on their work.