KGH gets high marks for going green

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

New provincial scorecard gives us a bronze for saving energy 

KGH may take up a sizable piece of geography, but our environmental footprint keeps getting smaller and smaller. We are using a lot less energy and water than we did a few years ago and these efforts have just been recognized by the Ontario Hospital Association. We received a bronze score in its new Green Hospital Scorecard.

All hospitals in the province were asked to submit data for 2012 for the scorecard. Each then received a report that shows how well they are doing compared to all hospitals in the province, as well as their peer hospitals.

"We didn’t know what to expect when we submitted our data since this is a new tool that’s aiming to drive improvement. It’s great to see that we scored so well on both energy and water intensity scores," says Allan McLuskie, Director of Facilities Management.

KGH’s high scores are due mainly to the major energy-retrofit program we have been carrying out over the past few years. For example, during the two-phase project, we installed new energy-efficient lighting systems, new boilers, computer sleep mode software, replaced air handling systems and changed 250 windows in the Watkins wing. To save water, we have installed low-flow toilets, sinks and other water fixtures all over the hospital. As a result, KGH has reduced it’s overall energy use by 14 per cent and is now saving over $800,000 per year in utilities, money which can be diverted to patient care.

And we’re not done yet. Our facilities department continues to work on other ideas to reduce our utility bill.

As for the scorecard, next year our hospital will be aiming to rate even higher. Our recycling program is gaining momentum and we will also be including information about the new Green Procurement policy put in place by 3SO, our supply chain services partner.

It’s working to help protect the environment by asking vendors, suppliers and contractors to provide information on the environmental sustainability of all the goods and services they are offering so it can be taken into consideration when contracts are awarded.

KGH will also be studying what more we can do to make our own processes more environmentally-friendly in terms of creating new policies, targets and plans.

"As a healthcare organization, we think it’s important we help look out for the health of our community in any way we can. Going green improves our air quality, conserves our precious resources and ultimately contributes to the health of our communities," says McLuskie.