Waste and pollution process in The Galway Clinic
The Galway Clinic has recently been awarded the “Green Professional Service Award” which was presented to Denis Coen, General Manager of the Galway Clinic.
The Galway Clinic was also listed in the top four finalists in the country for the overall award.
In the category Green Professional Services the Galway Clinic is the first medical related winner.
The Galway Clinic has reduced our carbon emissions in the last 12 months by the equivalent of the annual emissions of 200 cars, saving 100 tonnes of carbon and 1,377,805 kWh hours of electricity and gas.
We have embraced best environmental practice in waste management, created a biodiversity action plan, focussed on local and green procurement, used green materials in new building activities, engaged with our local community and built on our long tradition of caring about the environmental impact of the hospital.
This work builds on several years of verified reductions in energy use – our ‘low-hanging fruit’ in LED lighting, PIR sensors and ‘easy’ changes were made in a programme – now we are tackling those more difficult to achieve environmental targets.
All Galway Clinic staff, suppliers and contractors are involved in achieving these goals and we are committed in sustaining these improvements and improving our environmental performance year on year.
Recycling, Re-use and Waste Minimisation
We have implemented a policy to reduce the overall waste sent to landfill. Our waste is segregated on-site with recycling streams for cardboard bales, mixed dry plastics, electrical waste (WEEE), batteries, metals, food and glass. Materials not suitable for recycling are shredded, bailed and used for energy recovery, as suggested in the Waste Management Hierarchy.
Over 40% of waste is now recycled – an excellent figure given that much hazardous waste in a hospital setting is not suitable for recycling.
We are trialling a clinical waste treatment plant for shredding and sterilising hazardous waste. As a result of these endeavours waste creation per patient, per bed in the Galway Clinic is now below the European standard.
Energy and water efficiency
Water in the hospital is provided mainly through the onsite well, which is metered to monitor usage. In 2014 we had installed several additional water meters on site to assess our water use patterns, and determine where savings can be made. Our metering and monitoring system provides an instant alarm notification where leaks are highlighted immediately ensuring a minimal amount of water is lost.
We have also installed two rain water harvesting tanks, one of which supplies water for the cleaning of the multi storey car park.
Our Biodiversity Action Plan
We have devised, through extensive consultation, a Biodiversity Action Plan to provide the framework for the conservation of our rich natural habitats on hospital owned grounds. This action plan aims to promote a partnership approach to nature conservation. The main objectives of the plan are:
• To raise awareness and appreciation of natural habitats around the surrounds of the Galway clinic.
• To increase our staffs knowledge and understanding of biodiversity and what actions they can undertake to improve the biodiversity of the hospital facilities and its natural surroundings.
In 2014 we had ensured that native plants are planted in our grounds, added a new (environmentally designed) walkway through our protected woodland, and added additional bird boxes to the trees.
Commuter Car Use Reduction
We have put significant resources into reducing the ‘grey’ fleet emissions of our staff, creating and investing in cycling facilities. Our staff can avail of the Cycle to Work scheme, new bike storage facilities, and staff showers for those who commute by bike. As a result of these initiatives vehicle usage among staff has greatly decreased.
Our Next Steps
At Galway Clinic we understand that we need to continually look to improve our environmental performance and reduce our environmental footprint. We will again strive to be the most environmentally friendly and most energy efficient hospital in Ireland. Among our plans for this year are the following initiatives:
- A 10% reduction in energy consumption against 2021 levels
- Formalising a Green Procurement Strategy
- Food composting and green food waste recycling policies
- Use of Ecocem, and other green building products, in new building works
- Investigating a sponsored community allotment
- Upgrading to high efficiency primary heating plant
- Reviewing room automation with occupancy and carbon dioxide sensors to improve air quality and energy efficiency