London Health Sciences Centre a leader in energy efficiency and conservation

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London Health Sciences Centre is one of Canada’s largest acute care teaching hospitals and as such it carries a great responsibility in being a leader in energy efficiency and conservation. “The London hospitals have had a tradition of energy conservation dating well back into the 70s,” says Phil Renaud, Director of Engineering Services at LHSC.
With the growth in size of the facility, addition of services and equipment and the growth in volume of staff, patient and public activity one could reasonably expect a corresponding increase in energy consumption and cost. This has not been the case for LHSC due to numerous energy performance projects that to date create an annual energy savings of two million dollars and help reduce their GHG production by 18,642,797 kg. Coupled with these mechanical/electrical upgrades (and the focus of this article) is LHSC’s energy awareness program and their icon leader CHESTER. This program is designed to create behavioural change in staff to ensure we capture that elusive component of maximum energy efficiency – user involvement.
With the creation of CHESTER, Mark Read, Energy Steward Specialist at LHSC, designed an awareness program that would help staff change their behaviours to become more energy conscious at both work and home. Read started the small program out of LHSC, setting up energy awareness weeks where over 2000 staff visited his booth to find out more about the new program. With ‘Chester’ being the icon of energy awareness at LHSC, staff is engaged to become more energy conscious.
Chester communicates through email, his website, posters, post-it notes and internal newsletters. The hero in green educates the staff of the environmental benefits of being energy efficient in both the home and at work and he welcomes suggestions as to how the hospital can further save. Chester has even been taken into the community to local schools to educate kids about energy conservation and the environment. The once small and modest energy project has blossomed over 7 years into an incredibly successful awareness program that continues to contribute to the $2M in annual energy savings being realized.
Based on the success of the program, work began to create marketing materials to promote the adoption of the Chester program in other healthcare facilities and The Chester Network was born. “We were at a point where we felt confident that we could start to share our successes and provide a valuable resource to other area healthcare facilities.” says Read.
Hospitals such as Alexander Marine General Hospital and those in the Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance (HPHA) have called upon the help of The Chester Network to create the same energy culture that LHSC benefits from. Chester has just finished launching the program at HPHA and plans for more additions to the Network are nearly completed.
The Chester Network, along with the LHSC Ecological Stewardship Program, have been recognized for their initiatives in energy conservation and received several awtards including the 2003 Overall Leadership Award, the 2007 Canadian Healthcare Engineering Society Award and the 2008 Energy and Environmental Stewardship Award from the Canadian College of Health Services Executives.
Programs like the Chester Network are vital to today’s hospital setting; hospitals need to provide excellent healthcare but also help to not contribute to the factors that cause many health problems. The emphases of The Chester Network are not only employee awareness and energy savings but also to improve the health and wellbeing of the community and the environment. By reducing harmful side effects of operation, and providing education and awareness to their staff, London hospitals and The Chester Network are meeting patients’ needs while improving the environment in which they heal.
You can learn more about the The Chester Network at: http://www.chesternetwork.com.