Hospi­tal tooks to so­lar power to help cut down down costs

Wangaratta Chronicle - - News - BY STEVE KELLY skelly@ ne­me­dia.com.au

A HUGE so­lar sys­tem, po­ten­tially gen­er­at­ing 100 kilo­watts of power, will be in­stalled at North­east Health Wan­garatta (NHW) by the end of 2017/18.

The pro­posed 500-panel sys­tem will be part of the State Gov­ern­ment’s $26 mil­lion Greener Gov­ern­ment Build­ings pro­gram.

Plans are for it to go on the roof above the ma­ter­nity and crit­i­cal care wards and it will be a part of the sur­gi­cal ward, by June next year.

It’s a sys­tem that will cost $100,000 and the pay-back pe­riod would be four to five years.

The up­grades to Vic­to­rian hos­pi­tals are es­ti­mated to save more than $70 mil­lion over the life of the in­vest­ments, and cut green­house gas emis­sions by more than 20,000 tonnes each year.

Greg El­lis, man­ager of fa­cil­i­ties and engi­neer­ing at NHW, said the hospi­tal’s elec­tric­ity use was more than the 100kw and more en­ergy is used in sum­mer than win­ter due to the high cost of air con­di­tion­ing.

NHW con­stantly looks at ways it can save en­ergy and re­duce waste with dozens of ini­tia­tives al­ready in place.

Th­ese in­clude re­place­ment of halo­gen and flu­o­res­cent lights with LEDs, in­su­la­tion, re­flec­tive paint on roofs, a so­lar hot wa­ter sys­tem at the Thomas Ho­gan unit, wa­ter sav­ing mea­sures, bet­ter air con­di­tion­ing ef­fi­ciency, door seals and win­dow tint­ing.

De­part­ment of Health will con­tinue to an­a­lyse health ser­vice en­ergy use to de­ter­mine which hos­pi­tals will ben­e­fit the most from so­lar pan­els and en­ergy ef­fi­ciency so­lu­tions.

Health ser­vices iden­ti­fied will then be el­i­gi­ble for loans to in­stall en­ergy ef­fi­ciency tech­nol­ogy.

They will also have the op­por­tu­nity to bulk buy so­lar pan­els through Health Pur­chas­ing Vic­to­ria to max­imise ben­e­fits de­liv­ered through this ini­tia­tive.

Min­is­ter for Fi­nance Robin Scott said they are tak­ing ac­tion on cli­mate change and driv­ing down costs for our hos­pi­tals and health ser­vices.

“The Greener Gov­ern­ment Build­ings pro­gram is a win/ win – it re­duces green­house gas emis­sions, cre­ates jobs and saves Vic­to­ri­ans money,” he said.

Min­is­ter for Health Jill Hen­nessy said in­vest­ments for the hos­pi­tals need to keep pace with in­creas­ing de­mand.

“This is so they can fo­cus on what they do best, which is sav­ing lives and car­ing for Vic­to­ri­ans,” she said.

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