Reducing emissions is a key strategic goal of SWH’s 2020-24 Environmental Management Plan. With input from its sustainability committee and buildings and infrastructure team, the health service identified eight key small-medium projects with a specific focus on its smaller campuses. All projects aligned with the VHHABA’s environmental sustainability strategy and commitment to support the state’s health system to reduce its carbon emissions.
‘As a major energy-using institution in our region, our sustainability committee is very focused on identifying opportunities to decrease negative environmental impacts of our operations and services,’ says environmental sustainability officer Elvia Hewson.
The VVHSBA funding finances solar arrays at Lismore Community Health, Macarthur Community Health, Portland Community Mental Health Services and Warrnambool’s Nootyoong Prevention and Recovery Centre (PARC). Electric hot water systems will draw off the solar array, completely removing the need for LPG at Lismore and Macarthur.
‘Health services require significant amounts of energy to be able to deliver quality healthcare services to the community,’ Elvira explains. ‘Increasing the proportion of energy supplied through renewable energy or more energy-efficient infrastructure has both health and economic benefits. Lowering emissions released into the atmosphere also decreases the amount spent on energy bills, ultimately freeing-up further resources to be directed to patient care.’
Elvira expects all the projects will be completed by the end of the year. Lismore’s solar installation was completed last week.
‘This development will significantly reduce our spend on utilities,’ says Lismore Community Health manager Sue Ryan. ‘Even with increased demand on electricity to back up the electric hot water service, the installation of the solar array is anticipated to reduce average daily power usage at the site by 40 percent.’
Lismore Community Health operates out of the former Lismore Hospital. This large facility requires significant energy to heat and maintain. The service provides essential allied, nursing and GP services to Lismore and surrounds, enabling community members to live independently in their homes for longer.
Sustainability committee member and Camperdown/Lismore maintenance manager Les Harrison says it’s wonderful to see SWH’s focus on sustainability extending to our key minor campuses.