Understanding our impacts and creating positive change
London Health Sciences Centre’s (LHSC) Ecological Stewardship Program has its origins in the hospital’s energy conservation initiatives, which ramped up in 2000 with the development of an award-winning energy awareness program. Today, the Ecological Stewardship Program uses a holistic approach to understanding and reducing the hospital’s impact on the environment.
To develop a roadmap for reaching program goals, we needed to determine our starting point. To establish this, we engaged a consulting firm based in Oxford, England to measure the hospital’s ecological footprint. A concept created by Professor William Rees of the University of British Columbia, an ecological footprint is a calculation of an organization’s impact on the renewable resources of the planet, expressed as the number of global hectares needed to maintain that organization. Our starting-point calculation was completed in 2007.
Armed with this analysis, we are using innovation, vendor partnerships, education and awareness initiatives, staff involvement, holistic approaches, and new technologies to reduce our impact on the environment. Read more below:
Minimize the economic impact of energy consumption on the hospital while addressing climate change and air quality issues
- Between 2000 and 2005, reduced the hospital’s greenhouse gas emissions to a level equivalent to taking 2,000 cars off the road while at the same time lowering annual energy costs by $1.8 million
- Implemented a highly successful staff awareness and engagement campaign that is being replicated in other hospitals.
- Replaced PCB-containing transformers at University Hospital with new silicone fluid-filled transformers in 2003
- Through cogeneration, the power plant at LHSC’s Victoria Hospital generates 5 megawatts of electricity annually using a gas-fired turbine, resulting in lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions than would be produced by using electricity provided by oil or coal-based power plants. Now we are using a high-pressure steam turbine to boost the plant’s electrical generation to 7 megawatts annually, enough to power 4,500 homes, using readily available steam produced for other purposes.
- Through energy performance contracts, we have implemented a broad range of energy conservation measures. Under this approach, an external energy services company completes an energy audit of the hospital’s buildings. A project is then designed to reduce energy consumption using a variety of measures, including heat recovery systems, lighting upgrades, and the replacement of boilers and chillers with newer, more efficient models. These improvements are funded by the guaranteed annual savings that they generate. Once the costs of the improvements are recovered by the contractor, the savings accrue to the hospital.
The Ontario Energy Board requires that LHSC make our Notice of Application and Written Hearing for our Application for Retailer License available on our website, since we sell electricity to the Parkwood Institute.
Downloads for London Health Sciences Centre Application for an Application for an Electricity Retailer License, Board File Number EB-2015-3005:
- Notice of Application and Written Hearing - English
- Notice of Application and Written Hearing - French
Using the 3Rs—reduce, reuse and recycle, reduce the annual volume of waste generated at LHSC.
- We recycle aluminum, plastics #1 and #2, fine paper, tin, cardboard, glass and newspaper
- We’ve adopted an electronic imaging system, thereby eliminating the paper, chemical, water and plastic waste that was generated during the production of three million hard copy films annually
- We’ve joined forces with an external company to recycle fluorescent lamps, diverting phosphor powder, aluminum and mercury from landfill
- We recycle our computers, monitors and printers through an external firm
- We return older model telephones to our supplier when they are replaced
- With St. Joseph’s Health Care, London, we’ve developed and implemented a waste management manual that includes sections for chemical and biomedical waste and a biomedical waste toolkit
- We’ve eliminated mercury thermometers and 99 percent of mercury-containing blood pressure manometers from the hospital
- We’ve added statements regarding excess packaging to our requests for proposal for the supply of goods and services
- We’ve implemented a clear bag policy so that waste entering the wrong stream can be quickly spotted and redirected to the right stream
Developing a strategy to foster the procurement of goods and services that are less harmful to human health and the environment, i.e., less toxic, minimally polluting and energy efficient
- We have established a green procurement team that will introduce green procurement measures into all purchasing choices in London’s hospitals
- We have defined our objectives: to generate internal awareness, research best practices, survey the vendor community, establish quantifiable eco-metrics for vendors and processes, introduce green procurement into sourcing processes, and measure, monitor and revise results.
- We have determined the top ten most consumed items in the hospital, and are developing strategies to reduce their environmental impact
- We have included environmental criteria in Request for Proposal documents for hospital contracts
- We have conducted a Green Procurement Survey to identify LHSC vendors that have demonstrated strong environmental policies and practices, and that can participate as partners and leaders in the Ecological Stewardship Program
We have developed and are implementing a process to review the products and supplies used in hospital departments to identify eco-friendly alternatives and opportunities for waste minimization
To reduce the environmental impact and costs of maintaining our 350 acres of property, 120 planted gardens and 820 trees.
- We do not use pesticides or herbicides in grounds maintenance
- • We do use a natural, biodegradable product for weed control on hard surfaces
- We minimize mowing of turf areas by focusing on the areas closest to our buildings
- We apply a pre-wetting solution to our roadways before applying road salt, and we’ve reduced road salt use by 30 to 50 percent in winter grounds maintenance by substituting an alternate product for snow and ice melting
- We’re adding low maintenance plants to our gardens to reduce maintenance requirements and create a consistent look
Canadian Healthcare Engineering Society (2007) – Award of Excellence in Healthcare Facilities Management
Natural Resources Canada (2005) – Honourable Mention, National Energy Efficiency Award
Canadian Council of Health Service Executives / Natural Resources Canada Office of Energy Efficiency (2004) – National Energy Management Award
London Chamber of Commerce (2004) – Environmental Business Achievement Award
Ontario Hospital Association (2003) – Overall Leadership for Green Healthcare
Voluntary Challenge Registry (2002) – Gold