Blackrock Clinic Goes Green – 2019
13th May 2019
In early March, Blackrock Clinic “Keep Cups” were gifted to staff and colleagues working on site as an overture to our 2019 campaign “Blackrock Clinic Goes Green”. Of the many challenges faced in the running of a busy hospital, staying true to the ideal of “doing no harm” is becoming increasingly complex when it comes to our environment. The reusable Keep Cups are a solution to the waste generated by the mountainous 443,000 disposable coffee cups and lids we have been getting through each year. So far we have reduced monthly consumption by 83% and forecast an upward trajectory for this figure.
And we have much more to do.
Further facts relating to the environmental impact of hospitals are similarly hard hitting:
- Around 13kg of waste is produced per day, per staffed patient bed stay. This is not single solution waste, but a complex mixture of solid waste (plaster, food, plastic, liquid, biomedical, gases, wood etc.) and medical waste which is contaminated with body fluids (disposable linen / paper gowns and drapes, plastic, paper etc.). Additionally problematic is toxic chemical waste from the laboratory.
- Hospitals fall within the top three, along with food service and food sales, in the list of commercial buildings having the most intensive energy consumption per square foot.
Blackrock Clinic Goes Green – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
Our 2019 vision is to reduce our own environmental footprint. This aim is being iterated throughout the organisation and improvements to working methods will be implemented at all levels. Cross departmental teams of volunteers are currently examining some of the prominent areas of concern, identified as:
- Paper waste,
- The management and recycling of diverse waste types,
- Plastic reduction, and,
- An improved carbon footprint.
Their recommendations will be collated and measured using defined metrics. Proposed improvements will be progressed to action via conduits such as procurement and contract / vendor management.
Green Hospital Design
Green is not a new vision here. Green hospital design was an underlying principle at the planning stages of Blackrock Clinic. When the hospital was built in 1986, our founding doctors and architect (David Jordan) collaborated to use the best “green” building and fitting techniques available to them at that time. They were conscious of the importance of the cost and energy efficiency of the building, as well as the sense of well-being of the patients inside. The hospital was built with features such as modular operating theatres, ensuring that frequent refits and improvements would be possible within the main structure. This legacy has since enabled us to adapt and incorporate new methods of energy efficiency.
In 2015 we became the first hospital in Ireland to receive EcoMerit certification from Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council (DLRCoCo). With guidance from an inspirational EcoMerit advisor provided by DLRCoCo in partnership with the Environment Protection Agency, our dedicated facilities and projects teams instigated a number of beneficial reductions to our environmental footprint:
- Power usage: A “not in use standby feature” was fitted to all new operating theatre areas, and retro fitted to existing areas.
- Lighting: A programme was implemented to replace fluorescent, halogen and tungsten lamps with LED lighting.
- Heat: A combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit was introduced to re direct and make use of excess energy produced.
An ongoing benefit to achieving this certification is that we now have an established relationship with DLRCoCo and our EcoMerit advisor. This is added value and support as we move into our next phase with “2019, Blackrock Clinic Goes Green”.
Let’s get green – it’s that simple!