Hospital Engineering & Facilities Management 2007: 33-5

Harry Barron
Technical Services Coordinator, West Moreton Health Service District,
Ipswich Hospital, Queensland, Australia


The word ‘sustainability’ has become the catch-cry of the early 21st century. As mankind ruthlessly exploits the fossil fuels inherited from ages past, ever-increasing demand is driving prices to record highs. However, concern is mounting amongst thinking people that the sudden (relative to the aeons of history) release of huge quantities of carbon dioxide (C02) may be producing adverse effects on our planets climate.

Enlightened individuals corporations and governments are seeking to limit the discharge of greenhouse gases (GHGs) by implementing various initiatives to reduce the usage of fossil fuels. The added advantage is of course that energy cost, also reduce with decreasing usage. Even relatively conservative entities such as the Building Code of Australia are introducing sustainability provisions with new energy efficiency provisions for Class 9a buildings scheduled for introduction in May 2006. The mood of the time can probably be summed up by the following statement;

“While this [the doubling of the price of oil] may sound gloomy, the planet may well benefit from an oil crisis, enabling more environmentally sympathetic alternatives, such as solar, to be developed and embraced.”

Terence Jeyaretnam, Engineers Australia, April 2005.

Of course hospital engineers and managers have always promoted efficient energy use and lowest possible energy costs in their facilities, which are acknowledged as large users of energy. They have succeeded when given the opportunity, the finance and the political/corporate will to do so.

This paper represents the efforts of the Budding, Engineering and Maintenance Service at the West Moreton Health Service District based at Ipswich in Queensland, to produce a positive effect on the bottom-line of energy costs in that district. Of course any reduction in purchased energy will be desirable, but some initiatives are better than others.

The purpose of this paper is to share our experience with solar energy with other hospital energy managers, for mutual gain.
Barron, Harry

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