Optimizing Medicine In Unlikely Places

Large medical centers and campuses can see energy systems upgraded, maintained, and monetized by Energy-as-a-Service arrangements

By Ed Tinsley

Public and private institutions alike have relied on innovation since the Great Recession a decade ago to meet modest financial benchmarks and keep pace with competitors or regulatory requirements. Hospitals have been pushed to maximize care, often at the expense of already-delayed capital improvements. These conditions have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the attendant cessation of higher-margin service lines and elective procedures, a rise in operating costs, and a drop in non-operating investment revenue—trends that will have a lasting impact on the hospital’s long-term performance.

How do we optimize medicine when resources are thinnest?

Hospital Central Utility Plant

Energy-as-a-Service (EaaS) is a once-emerging solution that has become more mainstream and provides an alternative to the typical customer-funded or financed capital improvement project, and rising operations and maintenance costs. In the Energy-as-a-Service model, a customer partners with a service provider to operate and maintain its energy asset inventory. EaaS providers like Bernhard design a turnkey solution that typically includes an accretive package of energy efficiency improvements and a transfer of operational risk so that customers may realize budget certainty and shift resources to their core missions like, in the case of hospitals, quality patient care.


energy-as-a-serviceEnergy-as-a-Service offerings are unique, custom solutions based on the customer’s needs. Experts in finance, legal, accounting, and engineering develop energy infrastructure renewal and optimization programs to monetize assets, reduce risk, and maintain customer liquidity and proper balance sheet treatment. EaaS solutions offer flexibility in the development and structure in order to maximize benefits to the client.

Uniquely suited to bring EaaS benefits to clients, Bernhard is a turnkey provider, offering engineering design, construction, and operation capabilities with a track record of delivering leading-edge and reliable energy systems.

We’ve seen EaaS play a critical role in improving energy infrastructure without burdening the customer’s financial statements with decreased liquidity or long-term debt often associated with an infrastructure upgrade.

Emergency Response

Bernhard has worked closely with several health care organizations to provide emergency response services, mobilize temporary or additional facilities, and adapt to COVID-19. Expanding dormant capacity, recommissioning entire floors and wings, and testing and redirecting airflow and climate systems are just some of the solutions our teams have designed and delivered to meet customer and community needs.

Further, Bernhard is positioned to dispatch qualified, trained technicians to operate central energy plants on an emergent, temporary or permanent basis in order to meet the around-the-clock demand for plant performance. As the central plant operator for trauma center-level hospitals around the nation, Bernhard’s operators have the ability to step in and assist with the delivery of energy systems without compromising quality of care or patient comfort.

Bernhard has served health care, educational, government, commercial and industrial clients nationally for more than 100 years, and today, we are working with those partners to continue to plan and execute a response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

energy-as-a-serviceTinsley is CEO of Bernhard and a co-founder of Bernhard’s engineering division. Ed leads a multi-disciplinary team through development and execution of large-scale, turnkey energy conservation projects. He is a dedicated leader in the industry for his innovative energy conservation solutions and has more than 38 years of experience in facilities engineering. Bernhard is one of the largest privately-owned engineering, construction, and asset management firms in the nation with more than 2,000 employees in more than 25 locations.

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