Case Study: Sharp Healthcare

Sharp Chula Vista
Sharp Coronado
Sharp Grossmont

The leading regional health care provider and San Diego's largest private employer, Sharp HealthCare is committed to improving the welfare of the environment and the communities it serves. Sharp's medical services include four acute-care hospitals, three specialty hospitals, three affiliated medical groups, and a health plan, staffed by more than 18,000 employees.

Through its All Ways Green™ initiative, Sharp identifies opportunities and implements best practices focused in five areas: energy efficiency, water conservation, waste minimization, commuter solutions and sustainable food practices. A system-wide All Ways Green committee spearheads the organization's efficiency and conservation efforts with specialized subcommittees responsible for each of the five areas of environmental engagement initiatives. Green Teams at each Sharp facility are responsible for developing new programs to educate and motivate employees to conserve natural resources and to reduce, reuse and recycle.

All Ways Green
Sustainable Food Practices
The goal of Sharp’s Food and Nutrition Best Health Committee is to promote its food sustainability efforts throughout the health care system and within the greater San Diego community.

Natural Resource Conservation
Sharp's goal is to optimize the use of electricity, gas and water at Sharp HealthCare, identify and evaluate opportunities for improvement, implement initiatives cost-effectively and track progress.

Waste Minimization
Sharp is committed to and has been successful in significantly reducing waste at each entity and extend the lifespan of local landfills.

Commuter Solutions
Sharp supports ride-sharing, public transit programs and other efforts to reduce transportation emissions generated by Sharp facilities and employees.

Community Outreach and Education
Sharp actively communicates and educates local communities about its sustainability programs.

Energy Savings Goals

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), health care ranks as the country's second most energy-intensive industry, and hospital water use constitutes 7 percent of the total water used in commercial and institutional buildings nationwide. Sharp's goal is to optimize the use of electricity, gas and water; identify and evaluate opportunities for improvement; implement initiatives in the most cost-effective manner; and track progress.

As of 2017, Sharp's focus on energy efficiency measures has resulted in a 7 percent decrease in electric and gas energy consumption (on a per square foot basis) and an energy cost savings of more than 3 percent. In total, Sharp's completed energy projects have reduced its carbon footprint by almost 18,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, equivalent to taking over 3,800 cars off the road for one year.

Sharp HealthCare and Benchmarking

Improving Data Quality

All Sharp hospitals engage in benchmarking using EPA's ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager® to track monthly building energy consumption. From July to August 2017, a Benchmarking Coach worked with Sharp facility managers to review their Portfolio Manager accounts to identify and correct data quality issues. The Benchmarking Coach reviewed the following common causes of data quality issues.

  • Meter data gaps
  • Gross floor area accuracy
  • Complex property and meter structures (e.g., buildings with a cogeneration plant sharing energy among different facilities)
  • Whether a server room should be benchmarked as a data center (constant load of 75 kilowatt or greater, typically with its own dedicated cooling system)
  • Factors contributing to ENERGY STAR score for a hospital (see below)
  • Importance in tracking changes in use details (e.g., gross floor area or number of employees) over time to receive the most accurate ENERGY STAR score
  • Factors preventing an ENERGY STAR score from being generated (e.g., estimates of IT energy use have not been updated)

Benchmarking Coach program services are funded through the San Diego Regional Energy Partnership, which includes the City of San Diego, County of San Diego, City of Chula Vista, San Diego Association of Governments, Port of San Diego and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E).

Applying for Recognition

Hospitals are one of about 20 property types to receive ENERGY STAR certification. ENERGY STAR-certified buildings are buildings that earn an ENERGY STAR score of 75 or higher, indicating that the building performs better than at least 75 percent of similar buildings nationwide. According to the EPA, these buildings on average use 35 percent less energy and create 35 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than comparable buildings across the country.

The ENERGY STAR score for hospitals includes adjustments for weather and business activity through specific property use details: building size, number of full-time equivalent workers, number of staffed beds, number of MRI machines and cooling degree days (retrieved based on ZIP code). The basis for the analysis is an industrywide survey conducted by the America Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE).

Because of Sharp’s commitment to superior energy performance and responsible use of natural resources, Sharp Coronado Hospital and Health Center (SCHHC) first earned ENERGY STAR certification in 2007 and recertified each year from 2010-13 and in 2017. Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center (SCVMC) first certified as an ENERGY STAR hospital in 2009, earned recertification in 2010-11, 2013 and 2015-16, and recently submitted for recertification in 2017.

From Benchmarking and Certification to Action

In 2017, Sharp extended its commitment to sustainability to include information technology (IT) best environmental practices to achieve significant energy savings. At the Sharp Operations Center data center, new software was installed on 10 computer room air conditioning units. The software makes data center cooling more efficient, resulting in a 16 percent decrease in power usage for these devices. In addition, new virtual computing environments helped reduce dramatically the number of actual devices operating in the SOC data center. The permanent removal of over 150 devices further reduced power and cooling needs for the building.

As of 2017, Sharp HealthCare has implemented the following energy efficiency projects at its eight main properties in San Diego and plans to continue to expand these projects to more of its facilities.

Natural Resource Project SMH/SMB SMV/SMC SCVMC SGH SCHHC SRS SHP Sharp System Services
Established Energy and Water Use Baseline
ENERGY STAR Participation      
Air Handler Projects            
Co-Gen Plant              
Electric Vehicle Charging Stations        
Electronic/Low-flow Faucets
Energy Efficient Appliances in the Cafe/Kitchen      
Energy Efficient Chillers/Motors        
HVAC Projects
LED Lighting
Lighting Retrofits
Occupancy Sensors
Thermostat Control Software              

SMH/SMB: Sharp Memorial Hospital/Sharp Mary Birch
SMV/SMC: Sharp Mesa Vista/Sharp McDonald Center
SCVMC: Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center
SGH: Sharp Grossmont Hospital
SCHHC: Sharp Coronado Hospital and Health Center
SRS: Sharp Rees-Stealy
SHP: Sharp HealthPlan

Getting Started with Benchmarking Coach

While the ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager® website has a vast array of resources for those looking to get started benchmarking, the Benchmarking Coach Program provides tailored one-on-one technical support to San Diego County businesses interested in learning more about building benchmarking and energy efficiency. Through the Benchmarking Coach Program, coaches can assist participants in many ways.

Getting Started with Benchmarking Coach

  • Creating a Portfolio Manager account
  • Adding properties and use details
  • Inputting energy, water and waste and materials consumption data
  • Requesting aggregated or nonaggregated data from SDG&E
  • Creating and interpreting Portfolio Manager reports

Assisting with Applying for Recognition and Complying with Regulations

  • Understanding the ENERGY STAR certification process
  • Learning about local and statewide benchmarking program requirements

Assisting with Moving Toward Reducing Building Energy Use and Increasing Clean Energy Usage

  • Providing high-level guidance on energy efficiency retrofits
  • Referrals to electric vehicle and distributed generation technology experts
  • Referrals to additional training resources and programs offering rebates and financing

 Contact a Benchmarking Coach today to request assistance.

Last updated December 2017

This is a project of the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative, which is partially funded by California utility customers and administered by San Diego Gas & Electric® (SDG&E) under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. The Center for Sustainable Energy® is a member of the collaborative. Trademarks are property of their respective owners.