Acute healthcare facilities such as Cork University Hospital have very different energy profiles to other organisations. Hospitals are energy intensive buildings that run 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
The figure below depicts energy usage during a typical day in CUH. While, as you would expect, energy usage peaks during ‘normal’ working hours between 9.00 and 17.00, you will notice that the base load always remains high. This is due to the large amount of energy intensive medical equipment that needs to be permanently switched on.
Figure: Daily Energy Usage in CUH
Our two main sources of energy in CUH are gas and electricity and we use both in almost equal measures. However, electricity is more expensive to purchase and also produces more CO2 during its generation so much of our effort is focused on enabling staff to make smarter choices about how they use electricity. Simple tasks such as switching off the lights when you leave the room, or turning the computer off before you go home really do make a difference.
So How Is CUH Performing On The Energy Front?
To date, we have achieved a 12% reduction in primary energy use since 2009 and we are currently just 6% above our glide path to achieving our 2020 public sector energy targets.
Figure: Glidepath to 2020 Energy Reduction Targets
We have a working energy plan in place to ensure that we remain focused and deliver on our commitment to achieving a 33% reduction in energy consumption by 2020.
What Can I Do To Help?
Did you KNOW!
- Electric items on standby mode use approx. 30% of energy of when they are in full use.
- Every time you open the refrigerator door, up to 30 percent of the cold air can escape.
Tips for reducing energy consumption & GHG emissions:
- Turn off unnecessary lights when daylight is sufficient or when room is not in use, on a safety note please don't leave your colleagues in the dark!
- Turn off computer monitors, printers and other peripherals when not in use. Turning off lights and equipment when leaving a room even for ten minutes can make a significant energy saving
- When experiments are finished turn off power to all ancillary equipment checking first whether equipment can be safely switched off when not in use.
- Check energy rating when purchasing electrical equipment, fridges, dishwashers etc. (A is best)
- Leave fridge door open for shortest period possible
- Operate dishwashers/washing machines only when full
- Fill kettles only to level required when boiling
- Use the stairs rather than lifts - good for the environment and good for your health!
- Disconnect unused equipment from mains supply
- Use heaters/air conditioners/fans etc. only when necessary
- Don't cover radiators when in use
- Use thermostats on radiators or radiator valves to regulate your office/home heating
- Much energy and water using equipment is within the partial or full local control of staff or students. You can actively assist in efforts to reduce energy consumption by greater energy awareness.
- Simple measures such as ensuring equipment is turned off when not in use or spaces not occupied can yield real and substantive reductions in energy consumption.
- Log any energy saving ideas with CUH.SustainableEnv@hse.ie
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