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OSF HealthCare, an 11-hospital health care system serving Illinois and part of Michigan, has been committed to reducing its energy usage for almost a decade. In fact, Ameren Illinois recognized OSF HealthCare for its efforts with the Ameren Illinois Energy Savings Projects Excellence and Environmental Award in September. But even after completing more than 140 projects to save 6,148,950 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity – enough to power 638 homes for one year – OSF HealthCare was on the hunt for more saving opportunities.

OSF HealthCare participates in Ameren Illinois’ Strategic Energy Management (SEM) Program, which is administered by Leidos. As part of this program, decision makers from across hospital functions and facilities have formed an energy efficiency team. They meet monthly to discuss efficiency projects, energy savings opportunities, and encourage energy-saving behaviors.

In November 2017, the team organized an “Energy Treasure Hunt” at OSF HealthCare St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington, Illinois, with the help of Leidos’ energy advisors. At the request of OSF HealthCare and as part of its SEM initiative, ENERGY STAR® worked in conjunction with the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) to develop the ASHE Chapter Challenge, which led the ENERGY STAR® Treasure Hunt offering.  SJMC was the first hospital to complete the treasure hunt.

The OSF HealthCare SEM energy efficiency group was divided into two teams to compete for who could identify the most savings opportunities with less than one-year payback period. They searched more than 500,000 sq. ft. and identified nearly 30 opportunities, including:

  • Replacing all existing lighting with LED bulbs
  • Replacing motors with high efficiency motors and adding variable frequency drives (read our blog about VFDs here)
  • Shutting off kitchen and exhaust and setting back supply fan at night
  • Replacing steam generators with high efficiency boilers

After a day and a half hunt at OSF St. Joseph, the teams identified nine quantifiable projects that could save more than $200,000 in less than a year. OSF HealthCare is now in the process of planning similar Energy Treasure Hunts with the Leidos energy advisors at other facilities to see if it can identify even more opportunities for savings.

For more information on Leidos’ expertise in energy efficiency, visit:

Ron Ingram is the Leidos Energy Advisor Manager for the Ameren Illinois Energy Efficiency program. He has over 30 years of experience in the electrical and automated controls industry working closely with many major companies providing sales, design and programming of metering and monitoring systems, SCADA and automated controls systems. These experiences have provided an excellent working knowledge of the challenges faced by commercial and industrial facilities as related to energy management and efficiency. Ron was instrumental in establishing and rolling out the Strategic Energy Management (SEM) initiative currently being offered to qualifying Ameren Illinois electric and gas accounts which has resulted in substantial energy savings being realized by these accounts.