George Hospital’s concerted efforts to save water and energy has paid off in less than three months.
Since December 2019, changes in water and heat recovery systems at George Hospital have led to a significant reduction in water and energy usage, reports George Herald.
The hospital saved more than 1 million litres of water since the new autoclave water and heat recovery system became operational in December 2019. Over the same period, the heat recovered generated 760,000 litres of domestic hot water at 60°C.
George Hospital is a registered member of Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH). This is an international network that aims to promote greater sustainability and environmental health in the health sector, thereby strengthening health systems globally.
Hospital CEO Michael Vonk said: “In line with the GGHH agenda, staff at George Hospital recognise that we cannot have healthy people on a sick planet and have committed to put George Hospital at the forefront of a global movement for environmental health.
“Doctors, nurses, pharmacists and support staff are playing leadership roles in transforming the hospital and becoming advocates for policies and practices that promote public environmental health.”
Andrew Cunninghame, mechanical engineer and departmental energy champion, gave staff an overview on 12 February of projects at George Hospital as well as other Western Cape health facilities that aim to reduce consumption.
“Autoclaves use potable water to produce steam, and more significantly, to condense the steam in the pressure chamber to draw a high vacuum. During the process this potable water typically runs to waste. This water is not only clean but also hot. The new system not only recycles this water, but recovers the heat to produce domestic hot water,” he explained.
“The primary driver was to address the water crisis. However, it soon became evident that the waste of energy by discharging warm water to the sewer was equally significant – particularly in view of the problems at Eskom.”