Hospital ‘thinks global, acts local’ with green move

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Burnside Hospital has launched a new “green” initiative that not only ties it to an international trend of eco-friendly healthcare but also provides a more healthy environment for staff and patients.

In order to reduce its carbon footprint, the Adelaide facility has installed 500 solar panels on the roof of its main building at Toorak Gardens, while more than 1,000 interior lights have been replaced with LED fittings across the operating theatres, support service areas and in all patient rooms.

The combined measures will help to reduce the hospital’s energy bill by $140,000 and reduce CO2 emissions by 253 tonnes – the equivalent of taking 131 cars off the road – while the LED lights will create a softer, more natural light for patients and staff.

“The strategic efforts to green the hospital’s operation are in line with the expectations of our community and also make good business sense by reducing our energy footprint over the long term,” Burnside Hospital board chairman Frank Kite said.

“The board is committed in its endeavour that the hospital adopt technologies and practices that are environmentally beneficial and reflective of a contemporary healthcare provider,” he added.

The healthcare sector contributes seven percent of Australia’s carbon footprint, according to 2018 research by the University of Sydney, compared to 10 percent in the United States of America.

Burnside Hospital is following the example of international movements such as Healthcare Without Harm, the Climate and Health Alliance, and Global Green and Healthy Hospitals as it seeks to meet the expectations of the local community in responding to the challenges of climate change.

The new solar network will supply an estimated 12 percent of the hospital’s operational requirements, and follows an upgraded recycling program which now includes sterile wrap and hard plastics.

The hospital has also installed two new lifts which recycle energy saved during downward journeys, replaced its 40-year-old cooling system to provide more efficient air-conditioning, and bought two cleaner back-up power generators.

It has introduced sustainable food packaging, eliminated hazardous chemicals where possible, and added more online services to reduce paper use.

The next goal is to review water and energy conservation measures at the not-for-profit private facility, which has 76 beds, five operating theatres and a range of clinics and services.

For more information, visit Burnside Hospital’s website. 

Read more: Burnside nurse’s African humanitarian adventure

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