Healthcare institutions and hospitals

Save energy easily

Energy costs can be influenced with less effort. Research shows that little effort in healthcare institutions could result in saving 15% of their energy usage. A saving of around € 2,50 per square meter results in an average of € 20.000 per year.
The biggest challenge for hospitals
The high electricity consumption of a hospital display a totally different image. Because they often use millions of kWh, they face other tax regulations. Above 50.000 kWh, energy tax and ODE is reduced to 2,28 cents. If hospitals use more than 10 million kWh (which is not exceptional) the energy tax will drop to 0,09 cents. In the Netherlands, it isn’t the polluter who is paying. The roof of a hospital is not big enough to generate the amount of green electricity they use on a yearly basis. Most of the hospitals are high buildings, which means that their roof surface is rather small. Next to that, the roof is filled with air treatment plants. It is possible to generate a part of the electricity in a sustainable way. This can even be profitable
The numbers don’t lie: around 5% of the CO2 emission on earth is caused by healthcare. Where people are taken care of in the foreground, people are getting sick of the pollution caused by healthcare in the background. This should – and can be – different, is the opinion of Cathy van Beek, who, as quarter master Sustainable Care, aims for the development and implementation of diverse sustainable initiatives.

Commissioned by the ministry of VWS, Van Beek, former board member of the Radboud UMC, is hired to stimulate the targets of the Green Deal Sustainable Care. Over 200 parties joined the deal and expressed their intentions to contribute to this ambition for the next couple of years. Health insurer CZ, for example, has promised to be more critical on sustainable purchases of generic medicines and the NEN, which sets national product standards, pays extra attention to sustainability in healthcare and medical instruments.

“Nothing but a win”, says Van Beek. These are big steps that will make sure that the entire healthcare sector and stakeholders will contribute. Around 5% of the CO2 emission on earth is caused by healthcare. Then there is no other way than stand up and face this problem together. If we decrease the CO2 emission by halve in 2030, we have reached a win for the healthcare sector.

Within the Green deal Sustainable Care, a new Sustainable Car institute of expertise has been launched by the ministry of VWS, Home Affairs and OCW. The institute focuses on gathering, developing and unlock knowledge and stimulate changes within healthcare in the Netherlands. The room you want to heat, the amount of warmth, the control you wish and the placement of the heat system. The installer who installs the infra-red heater will go through to the process with you. For the brand ThermIQ, the result matters. The result is that people feel comfortable and pleasant in a heated room. With the additional advantage for muscles, joints and blood circulation, infra-red heaters are very energy efficient.
Every piece helps
A couple of initiatives are launched, but according to Van Beek no initiative is too small. “Every piece helps”. On top of that, many ideas have potential to upscale. Hospitals are already looking critically to what exactly is being thrown away: If there is no infection hazard, waste might as well be recycled in a more environmental friendly way. Employers give out smaller packs of medicine and bandages to patients and air fresheners in surgery rooms are turned down at night to save energy.

The Radboud UMC, her old hospital, can be called a pioneer in sustainable healthcare. When the hospital was ready for new uniforms three years ago, they chose for sustainable clothing, consisting for 94% out of a fabric that uses less water than cotton. The uniforms have a longer durability and are re-used by the producer afterwards. “In this way we closed the raw material cycle, a beautiful result.”
Restaurant-worthy hospital food
According to Van Beek, there is a lot to gain within the hospital food regarding their sustainability. Previously, 30 to 40% of the food in healthcare institutions was thrown away because patients didn’t like it. “The food in healthcare institutions isn’t famous for its culinary level. This had to be changed. To decrease the amount of waste, but also because good food is important for wellbeing and recovery.”

That is why one of the hospitals has developed a totally new catering concept, which is taken over by other health car institutions and applicable in home care. Smaller portions are presented ‘restaurant-worthy’ by educated nutritional assistants, which wear professional aprons instead of hospital uniforms. It has shown to be worth the investment: 11% is thrown away and they are aiming for 5%. On top of that, it has been shown that, thanks to the new food, people have more proteins in their blood which is an important indicator for recovery. Van Beek: “In my opinion a beautiful example of sustainable care, in multiple areas.”

Sustainability as a business case
Creating support for sustainability is crucial according to Van Beek. That is why she is constantly talking with organizations, board members and associations of health care professionals during which she sees a lot of enthusiasm among the younger generation. “They only want to work in an environment in which sustainability plays an important role.”

The goal is to investigate all processes within the health care and, eventually, make healthcare and living concepts more sustainable. The implement sustainability structurally, it is, according to Van Beek, essential that the board of directors implement sustainability in their strategy, that the different disciplines negotiate with each other and that health care professionals are able to look outside their own scope. On top of that, parties need to consider sustainability as a business case that has an essential value. A business case that costs money on the short term, but is profitable on the long term.

“Sustainable healthcare asks for a different culture. Sustainability is not something you ‘just do’, it is a mindset we need to implement in our system. We are not there yet, but the will to change exists within all parties. Sustainability – and optimization – of our health care is in everyone’s interest.

Loxone Smart-home for hospitals

When people consider Smart Home technology in healthcare living, it is important to map out the needs of the residents. What are they able to do? Should a disability be taken into account? Are there certain daily challenges? Once you know what is needed, you can look for technology that simplifies life. Some of these challenges that need to be taken into account:

Mobility of the resident
A house for a person that, for example can walk on his/her own sits in a wheelchair, changes from time to time. Pushbuttons will hang on different positions and more attention should be payed to safety and prevent someone from falling.

Independence of the resident.
In a house fitted with the Loxone system, most of the things work automatically. The light turns on and the temperature turns down automatically. It should be questioned to what extend the resident can take these actions his/herself.

Technological knowledge of the resident
Some people are not familiar with using smartphones and tablets and therefore have a hard time using an application. An automated sensor-based system is an ideal solution for these people. An application needs to be complementary to the Smart Home System.

These are just three examples from many needs and challenges that need to be taken into account. It is also important to keep in mind that needs change over time. That is why you suit yourself by picking a solution that can be adjusted and extend every moment to keep fulfilling the needs of the resident.