Two years ago the team at Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) began looking at how efficiently our hospitals in Bracebridge and Huntsville were running and where there were opportunities to do better.
MAHC joined Greening of Healthcare, a cooperative that works with partner hospitals to lower energy costs and raise environmental performance. This gave us the tools we needed to obtain, manage and assess data and compare it to other organizations. It is also a place to share best practices and learn ways to plan and implement improvements.
Experts were engaged and helped to identify significant savings through a number of different initiatives. This team of experts, including energy advisors, engineers, architects, and project managers, broke down the opportunities for savings and efficiencies into projects by looking at areas that had the biggest expenditure of energy.
Benchmarking the current practice has also helped us to identify the anticipated utility savings, which are estimated at 22 per cent at the Huntsville site and 25 per cent at the Bracebridge site. The total savings between both hospitals is estimated at $350,000 annually. The energy efficiency projects will focus on upgrading to more efficient ventilation systems, domestic hot water heating, lighting and automation and will cost $2.8 million.
In February, the MAHC Board of Directors approved these initiatives and the first phase is scheduled to begin in May 2013 using a staged approach, with the heating systems being upgraded during the summer and the cooling systems in the winter. The project is expected to take 18 months to complete, and the hospitals will start to achieve the full benefits by the end of summer 2014.
The project will be funded through a bank loan that will be repaid over seven and a half years using the savings the efficiencies will produce. Once the loans have been repaid, the savings will be reinvested into programs and services, providing greater care for patients.
We are excited for the project, as it will not only reduce our hospitals’ environmental footprint and save money, but will also increase the comfort level for both patients and staff.
For more information on other initiatives at MAHC, please visit our website at www.mahc.ca.