Greening Health Care

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Canada-wide, hospitals spend approximately $750 million a year on utilities. Relative to other costs of healthcare, this may seem like small potatoes. Yet, Greening Health Care’s (GHC) member hospitals are proving that pursuing energy efficiency not only saves money and demonstrates leadership, but also helps instill the principle of high performance into all aspects of hospital operations.

For 10 years, Greening Health Care has been providing a strategic, systematic approach to benchmarking performance, targeting potential savings, identifying the best measures and delivering results. The program gives facility managers the tools they need to take control of their buildings using GHC’s data-driven, performance based methodology. GHC’s methods allow you to see precisely where your optimal savings can be found.

Whether you are looking to save money, improve operational efficiency, undertake a retrofit or renewal project, or build a new hospital, Greening Health Care provides the information, standards, and peer-network to help get the best performance out of your facilities. There are currently 51 hospitals participating the Greening Health Care and the program is available to hospitals across Canada.

Almost every hospital in Canada has three things in common – deteriorating infrastructure, minimal capital availability, and severe pressure on operating budgets. The good news is their large, untapped financial asset in potential utility cost savings.

Our studies have shown that about $250 million of the nation-wide utility expenditure is wasted.  Ten years of data-sharing and benchmarking through GHC have shown that some hospitals are already quite efficient while others can save 50 per cent or more of their energy and water use, utility expenditures, and greenhouse gas emissions. Our members have learned that in most cases savings can be achieved quite easily, often through smart operational and controls changes that require no capital outlay.  All that’s required is first to know what your savings potential is, then a facilities staff eager to take control of their building and finally making the business case for senior level support. Greening Health Care provides the means to help you do all three.

The health care sector has generally done a good job of benchmarking performance and cost indicators – with the glaring exception of utility consumption. The methodology developed through Greening Health Care is now providing the metrics, best practices and tools for leading hospitals across the country to quantify and deliver the full potential of each facility. The approach is readily applied to every hospital in Canada, supporting a systematic, multi-year effort to deliver and verify the savings. Many provincial agencies, electric utilities and gas companies are ready to provide financial incentives and technical support to help hospitals take action and achieve their savings potential. All that is needed now is for hospitals to find out how they compare, quantify their energy and cost savings potential, and get on with planning and implementing the necessary operational improvements and capital measures.

Of course, The Greening Health Care approach is about more than benchmarking and performance-based energy management. Members also value the opportunities for networking, recognition, and celebration.  To date, two GHC member hospital corporations have been awarded the Greening Health Care Leadership Award for sector-leading sustainability ethos and performance: Trillium Health Partners (2012) and West Park Healthcare (2011).
West Park Healthcare committed itself to aggressive energy management way back in the 1980’s, then built on that commitment by broadening its sustainability lens to the point where their wide ranging stakeholder supported sustainability program is engrained in the culture.

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The Trillium model is a bit different, but equally powerful.  They have adopted ISO (14001), managing their drive to sustainability and efficiency through a formal environmental management system that ensures efficiencies are constantly assessed and addressed through continual improvement. Both have leveraged energy conservation to improve their overall corporate efficiencies.

Anchoring your facility in sustainability is all about greater efficiency, cost savings, and happier engaged  staff.  Greening Health Care can help any health care facility in Canada take charge of their facilities, learn how they are performing, and inform and track real progress over time.  Visit www.greeninghc.com for more information.