Energy-Saving Strategy for Operating Rooms Released

Monograph by leading healthcare association recommends operating room HVAC setback to save energy, money

ASHE OR Setback Strategies Monograph cover (Photo: Business Wire)

SAN FRANCISCO--()--The American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) of the American Hospital Association has published a monograph titled Operating Room HVAC Setback Strategies. The monograph, which is part of a series of publications that cover single topics in clinical/biomedical engineering, facility engineering, design and construction, and safety and security management, details how operating room HVAC setback strategies can save energy. An operating room (OR) setback strategy reduces energy use by curtailing the amount of air supplied to an OR when the room is not in use. It may also allow temperature or humidity settings, or both, to drift when the room is not occupied.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, healthcare organizations spend more than $6.5 billion on energy each year, and that amount is rising to meet patients’ needs.1

As a lead author of the publication, Mazzetti Nash Lipsey Burch (M+NLB) identified heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) setback strategies and discussed opportunities and considerations for saving energy in the OR environment. The paper introduces the setback concept and highlights issues to help healthcare organizations move toward implementing the concept in their facilities.

Referencing comprehensive national and state standards from the Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) for healthcare ventilation, the publication lists key considerations for adoption of OR setback strategies and fundamental controlling factors that determine how a strategy is implemented.

“While doing research and talking with experienced design engineers from across the country, it became clear that a source of confusion for facilities engineers and owners was likely the range of solutions available for energy savings in operating rooms,” said lead M+NLB contributing author and environmental performance analyst Christy Love. “To narrow these solutions down we sifted through specifics, distilled the commonalities and identified the objective considerations that would help any owner move toward the best solution for their facility.”

The paper outlines potential solutions and notes that a successful solution must take into account factors such as climate, facility type and user needs as well as adhering to applicable code requirements.

“ASHE has been looking for low-cost, practical ways to reduce the energy consumption of its buildings to enhance the healthcare bottom line for many years,” said M+NLB CEO Walt Vernon. “ASHE worked with us to bring together some of the top engineers from around the country who are implementing these solutions for their clients in all kinds of different ways. The power of this document is that it brings together all of these approaches, so that a facility can select the strategy that works best for its unique needs. This paper is a very important contribution to the science of operating better healthcare buildings.”

Other key collaborators to the effort include Richard Moeller of CDi Engineers; Michael Sheerin of TLC Engineering for Architecture; and Ed Tinsely, managing principal of TME, Inc.

About ASHE

The American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) is a personal membership group of the American Hospital Association (AHA). ASHE represents a diverse network of 10,000 members dedicated to optimizing the health care physical environment. The Society is the publisher of the 2010 edition of the FGI Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities and other documents. For information about ASHE, please visit

About Mazzetti Nash Lipsey Burch

Founded in 1962, M+NLB is a full-service mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and technology engineering consulting and design firm, also providing value-added commissioning, equipment planning, materials and waste reduction, and environmental performance consulting services. It has offices in San Francisco, Irvine, and Sacramento, Calif.; Portland, Ore.; Nashville, Tenn.; Denver, Colo.; Baton Rouge and New Orleans, La., and Houston, Tex. It is one of the first engineering companies in the U.S. to add an environmental performance practice to its list of client services. For more information please visit


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Mazzetti Nash Lipsey Burch
Manoh Tsukii, 415-364-7289

Release Summary

The American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) of the American Hospital Association has published a monograph titled Operating Room HVAC Setback Strategies.


Mazzetti Nash Lipsey Burch
Manoh Tsukii, 415-364-7289