Potential Savings in DHW Facilities through the Use of Solar Thermal Energy in the Hospitals of Extremadura (Spain)

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Apr 13;17(8):2658. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17082658.


Hospitals need to prepare large amounts of domestic hot water (DHW) to develop their healthcare activity. The aim of this work was to analyse potential savings that can be achieved by installing solar thermal energy for production of domestic hot water in the hospitals of Extremadura (Spain). For this purpose, 25 hospitals between 533 and 87,118 m2 and between 15 and 529 beds were studied, three solar factor scenarios were simulated (0.70, 0.75 and 0.80) and the necessary investment and corresponding economic and environmental savings were calculated. Better economic results and energy ratios for 70% of solar contribution were obtained. These results show an average payback of 4.74 years (SD = 0.26) reaching 4.29 kWh/€ per year (SD = 0.20). Undertaking an investment of 674,423 €, 2,895,416 kWh/year of thermal energy could be generated with which to save both 145,933 € and 638 tons of CO2 per year. It was statistically demonstrated the priority of carrying out an installation with a solar factor of 70%, investing preferably in hospitals in Cáceres over those in Badajoz, especially in the public sector with more than 300 beds. These findings will provide hospital managers with useful information to make decisions on future investments.

Keywords: domestic hot water (DHW); energy and environmental costs; green buildings; healthcare engineering; solar thermal energy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Conservation of Energy Resources*
  • Hospitals*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Solar Energy*
  • Spain
  • Sunlight
  • Water*


  • Water