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August 18, 2015

ConEdison Solutions, one of the country’s largest energy services companies, strongly recommends that managers of American hospitals focus greater attention on environmental controls in operating rooms (OR).

Beyond supporting the comfort and safety of patients, an appropriate operating room environment brings an array of benefits that make significant and strategic contributions to a hospital’s long-term success.

When operating rooms enjoy correct levels of HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), they help hospitals retain their best doctors, shield themselves from regulatory penalties, decrease risk of infection, reduce readmission rates, and lower energy costs.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2013 guidelines for environmental infection control in healthcare facilities, lack of adherence to established standards and guidance (e.g., proper ventilation for specialized care areas such as operating rooms) can result in adverse patient outcomes in healthcare facilities.

Minimum standards for operating room performance are discussed in some detail in the Facility Guidelines Institute’s Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospitals and Outpatient Facilities (Chapter 1.2 of the 2014 Edition).  These guidelines are intended to help facilities achieve organizational sustainability goals while balancing the needs of patients, visitors and staff with the fiscal pressures currently affecting the healthcare industry.

“Hospitals can maintain a critical competitive advantage by maintaining proper environmental controls in their operating rooms,” said André LeBlanc, Director of Operations at ConEdison Solutions.  “The benefits extend well beyond matters of patient and staff comfort.  In fact, many of the payoffs are strategic in nature and reverberate positively throughout the entire institution.”  

Identifying proper ventilation rates, proper humidity ranges, and the maintenance of specified temperatures as the three key components of optimal OR-related HVAC, Mr. LeBlanc acknowledged the value of keeping the OR comfortable for personnel and patients.

But he emphasized that environmental management also helped hospitals to retain their top surgeons and reduce energy spending through effective and efficient control of the ORs.  The energy intensity of ORs is often the highest of any area in a hospital facility.

Mr. LeBlanc also said that under federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements, today’s hospitals must chart a course away from reimbursement models that focus on the number of procedures, and instead focus more consistently on outcome-based performance, with a special commitment to infection control and reducing readmissions.

The right OR environment will consistently contribute to lower infection rates, he said.  This consequently boosts patient health while reducing ACA-related penalties for infections and readmissions.

“The operating room is the hospital venue where the life and health of patients often is most exposed,” Mr. LeBlanc said. “While nothing is more important than keeping patients healthy, hospital management needs to appreciate the unusually wide spectrum of additional benefits to be gained by correct environmental management in the OR.”

He urged hospital management personnel to tap the services of a qualified energy services company to help them develop and implement an effective strategy to optimize environment management in operating rooms.

About ConEdison Solutions

ConEdison Solutions is a leading energy services company that provides competitive electricity and natural gas supply, renewable energy, sustainability services, cost-effective energy efficiency solutions, and energy performance contracting.  The company serves commercial, industrial, residential and government customers, including universities, public school districts, and hospitals nationwide.  Offering innovative products, financial stability, and a commitment to customer service, the company is based in Valhalla, New York, with offices in Burlington, Massachusetts; Cherry Hill, New Jersey; Falls Church, Virginia; Houston, Texas; Tampa, Florida; Overland Park, Kansas, Nashville, Tennessee; and Bloomington, Minnesota.  The firm’s dedicated team of energy professionals delivers a broad range of energy solutions.  ConEdison Solutions offers programs and services designed to help customers achieve their individual energy objectives and is accredited as an Energy Services Provider (ESP) by the National Association of Energy Service Companies (NAESCO).

ConEdison Solutions is a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc. (NYSE: ED).  More information can be obtained by calling 1-888-210-8899 or visiting the ConEdison Solutions website at  You can also visit the Consolidated Edison, Inc. website at for information on all of the Consolidated Edison companies.

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