HHS Indian Health Service Hospital Earns Energy Star. Label for Buildings

February 28, 2003

Energy Star logo

The Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded a 2002 Energy Star™ label for buildings to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Blackfeet Indian Health Service (IHS) Hospital in Browning, Montana. An Energy Star™ label for buildings is awarded for demonstrated energy performance in the top 25 percent among similar facilities nationwide (a rating of 75 or greater merits the Energy Star™ label). The Blackfeet Hospital earned this honor by maintaining indoor environment requirements for air quality, thermal comfort, and lighting, and has the distinction of being the first HHS building to receive the Energy Star™ label, "the mark of excellence in energy performance."

The hospital was built in 1937, with additions constructed in 1960, 1986, and 2001. Most of the newer additions were designed with state-of-the-art variable-air-volume (VAV) and direct digital control (DDC) systems. Rob Smith, facility manager until 2000, developed a comprehensive preventive maintenance schedule, taking full advantage of the DDC systems to ensure that the facility was running efficiently. Since 2000, Tim Davis and his staff have focused on operating and improving the hospital's state-of-the-art systems, monitoring a DDC service contract, and adhering to a comprehensive preventive maintenance schedule.

In December 2001, Burke Helmer of the IHS Billings Area Office managed a project to commission the hospital's HVAC system. Later, Helmer compiled and recorded available utility data for three hospitals and two clinics in the Billings, Montana, area. Among the facilities, the Blackfeet Hospital maintained the lowest energy consumption per square foot. Earlier this year, he benchmarked the hospital's energy performance using EPA's Energy Star™ Portfolio Manager, a web-based performance rating system, which indicated that the facility scored high enough to earn an Energy Star™ label.

The Blackfeet Maintenance Department works to maintain the facility's high standards for indoor environmental quality and energy efficiency. The Blackfeet Hospital maintenance team includes: Terry Bremner, Maintenance Mechanic; Thomas Connell, Utility Systems Operator; Kevin Connelly, Utility Systems Operator; Stephen Conway, Utility Systems Foreman; Supervisor John DeRoche, Utility Systems Operator; and Ronald Lahr, Utility Systems Operator.

The Energy Star™ brass plaque will be displayed prominently in the Blackfeet Hospital. The plaque is a highly-visible symbol of excellence in energy performance and stewardship of the environment, and it conveys performance excellence to staff, patients, and other visitors. The Energy Star™ label sends a positive message that the Blackfeet Hospital is setting high standards in energy efficiency and saving our Nation's valuable natural resources.

For more information, please see Energy Star™ Labeled Buildings. Access the Energy Star™ Portfolio Manager by clicking on "Government" and then "Benchmark Your Building." For additional information, please contact Burke Helmer of IHS Billings Area Office at 406-247-7088 or Beverly Dyer of FEMP at 202-586-7241.