Five years of excellence: Celebrating Bernhard’s pioneering 2017 Energy Asset Concession agreement with Ochsner Health

Bernhard has received our share of awards and accolades in our century of work, but it’s our ongoing partnerships with healthcare institutions that make us most proud. By helping hospital systems find innovative, on-budget solutions to their most pressing energy issues, Bernhard is strengthening America’s infrastructure and doing our part to prepare the nation for the healthcare challenges of tomorrow.

One of our most fruitful partnerships in recent years has been between Bernhard and Louisiana-based Ochsner Health. Celebrating 80 years of service to the community in 2022, Ochsner Health operates 40 hospitals and more than 300 urgent care and health centers across the Gulf South. Ochsner Health facilities treated more than 1 million patients in 2021, highlighting Ochsner’s role in the health and wellbeing of Louisiana.

This year marks the five-year anniversary of the landmark, first-of-its-kind Energy Asset Concession arrangement between Bernhard and Ochsner Health System. Ochsner and Bernhard are only one-third of the way through the original 15-year arrangement struck in 2017, but the partnership has already been a success, hardening critical infrastructure and saving Ochsner millions in energy costs per year.

Bernhard has since entered into similar 15-year Energy Asset Concession agreements with two other Ochsner Health facilities. In the process, we have upgraded critical infrastructure at these campuses while delivering substantial energy efficiency.

Combined, these projects have optimized energy usage for more than 3.4 million square feet of care and clinical space, with a combined annual energy savings of more than $2.7 million per year. Optimizing these facilities allows Bernhard and Ochsner to come together to prepare for whatever challenges may come.

2017: Ochsner Medical Center, New Orleans

In 2017, the flagship facility of Ochsner Health System, Ochsner Medical Center’s Jefferson Highway campus in New Orleans, entered into an innovative 15-year energy management agreement with Bernhard. The overall goal of the agreement is to help Ochsner Medical Center – New Orleans lower energy costs though substantial efficiency, equipment upgrades, mitigating operational risks and addressing long-term deferred maintenance.

The first of its kind, this Energy Asset Concession agreement transferred to Bernhard the right to operate, use and maintain the energy infrastructure of Ochsner Medical Center – New Orleans. The agreement was built on a solid foundation of trust between the two companies, nurtured by decades of successful service and construction projects Bernhard had completed at Ochsner facilities across Louisiana.

Bernhard constructed a new central energy plant to support the hospital’s 11-story West Tower expansion. To reduce demand on the existing central plant and improve operational efficiency, Bernhard instituted campus-wide energy infrastructure upgrades and retro-commissioning. Building automation systems were also upgraded to the latest technology, helping the facility better monitor and optimize energy use.

Once completed, Ochsner Medical Center – New Orleans’ new central energy plant was connected to the existing south campus main central plant. This created a district loop that serves more than 1.8 million square feet of facility space, providing more than 11,000 tons of chilled water capacity for the campus. Bernhard also upgraded Ochsner Medical Center’s north campus energy plant with more efficient pumping and piping.

Only five years in, this pioneering agreement between Bernhard and Ochsner Health has achieved its goal of a sustained reduction of energy use on the Ochsner Medical Center – New Orleans, exceeding initial projections of $2.4 million in annual energy savings.

2018: Ochsner Medical Complex – The Grove, Baton Rouge

Building on the successful partnership between Bernhard and Ochsner Medical Center – New Orleans, Bernhard and Ochsner entered into another 15-year Energy Asset Concession agreement in 2018 related to the under-construction Ochsner Medical Complex – The Grove in Baton Rouge. The five-story, 255,000 square foot medical office building would include a 10-bed hospital and surgical center and house 85 medical providers.

Bernhard provided an energy savings guarantee for the full term of the project, implementing O&M operator training, remote support services and measurement and verification.

With a projected opening date for the facility in early 2019, timelines were tight. To help Ochsner deliver this critically-needed facility on schedule and on budget, Bernhard flexed our logistical and organizational muscle. Coordination between design, construction and heavy trades was crucial for success. Knowing that, Bernhard streamlined the process, constantly re-evaluating the project and adjusting tactics and resource allocation. The biggest obstacles to the construction schedule were weather and site logistics, but together, Bernhard and Ochsner met every challenge.

In January 2019, a little over ten months after Ochsner and Bernhard made history by signing our second 15-year Energy Asset Concession, Ochsner Medical Complex – The Grove opened to serve the people of Baton Rouge. With Bernhard aboard to help find efficiency in every system, the complex is well-prepared for an ever-changing energy future, and is already realizing annual energy savings of $234,000.

2020: Ochsner Baptist Medical Center, New Orleans

In September 2020, Bernhard and Ochsner entered our third historic Energy Concession Agreement. Staffed by more than 600 physicians and specialists, Ochsner Baptist Medical Center is a vital part of New Orleans’ healthcare ecosystem. The hospital campus features more than 677,000 square feet of treatment space, including a 6,000-square-foot ER with two trauma rooms and the Ochsner Baptist Women’s Pavilion.

The ongoing project between Bernhard and Ochsner Baptist implemented electrical infrastructure upgrades at the campus, creating redundancy of building systems while improving their reliability and resilience, especially during adverse events like hurricanes. In addition to making mechanical enhancements to Ochsner Baptist’s central energy plant chilled water and tower water systems, Bernhard installed a security system in the central plant.

Bernhard also delivered campus-wide improvements to energy infrastructure, including the hospital’s water heating system, air handling units, steam system and electrical systems. Further efficiencies were realized through retro-commissioning efforts that installed more energy efficient lighting systems as well as upgraded building automation systems.

Together, these efforts have resulted in estimated annual energy savings of $775,000 per year for Ochsner Baptist, while helping this crucial part of New Orleans’ healthcare landscape stay resilient for decades to come.

Partnership for the Future

In the five years since Ochsner Health and Bernhard struck our pioneering Energy-as-a-Service agreement, our partnerships have remained strong. That includes Bernhard being on-site at all three Ochsner sites during the chaos of Hurricane Ida and its aftermath in 2021. Today, our work continues, realizing even further infrastructure improvements and delivering millions per year in energy savings. We are proud to continue teaming with Ochsner Health to meet existing and future challenges head-on while keeping the Gulf Coast healthy for years to come.

Ready to see what Bernhard can do to help your large facility group meet tomorrow’s most pressing energy and infrastructure challenges? Learn how Energy-as-a-Service works or contact our team today.