Green Coalition’s New Case Studies Profile First Nations’ Community Energy Management Successes

July 12, 2019

As part of the ongoing energy management and education collaborative between the Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care (the Coalition) and western James Bay’s Weeneebayko Area Health Authority (WAHA), the Coalition proudly releases three new energy management best practice case studies - available on their website at www.greenhealthcare.ca/northernenergy.

Of interest to energy, plant and facility managers, directors of finance and operations, and others engaged in health care infrastructure renewal and maintenance, particularly in remote northern locations, the new success stories profile the Coalition’s capacity building efforts and energy conservation initiatives developed and implemented by WAHA’s in-house Plant Operations and Maintenance Staff with assistance from the Coalition’s HealthCare Energy Leaders Canada (www.greenhealthcare.ca/HELC) team.

“Our growing list of case studies is testament to the amazing work being done by the facilities folks from WAHA,” claims Coalition Executive Director Linda Varangu. “We are extremely proud to be associated with their many green champions and to have played a part in helping senior leadership take the steps necessary to allow the true potential of their facility team to be realized.”

Even before having successfully completed the first-ever nine-day Building Operator Certification (BOC) course offered by the Coalition in a First Nations’ community, the graduates began using their classroom training and personal understanding of WAHA’s many diverse and aging health care buildings to develop energy conservation initiatives that would help reduce energy consumption while improving infrastructure and environments of care for the areas residents.

With their newfound technical expertise in a number of areas including energy-efficient operation of building HVAC systems, energy performance benchmarking, lighting and HVAC controls fundamentals and an increased knowledge of energy-efficient ENERGY STAR® certified products, the in-house team at WAHA discovered numerous opportunities to upgrade health care infrastructure leading to improved care delivery.

Now, with enhanced local building operator expertise residing in these First Nations’ communities, the health authority has its own diagnostic, service and repair options and is no longer tied to expensive, fly-in technical expertise from cities to the south.

According to JJ Knott, the Coalition’s HELC lead, “WAHA’s facility staff, including four First Nations’ BOC graduates, are far more confident to take on a much broader spectrum of building maintenance and retrofit tasks and in so doing, are helping WAHA save hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy and project costs over the next few years.”  

The Coalition’s portfolio of energy management best practice documents profiling successes in remote northern communities continues to grow. Challenging the adequacy of the existing radiator valve control system and initiating a replacement plan resulted in decreased boiler/steam system fuel oil consumption, lower heating costs and much improved working and care environments. Case #1, Improving radiator control valves saves dollars while improving energy efficiency and patient care, tells the story.

Case #2, Curtailing steam loss has cut facility operating costs, reduced GHG emissions and improved environment of care, resulted from a steam loss audit which provided sufficient financial incentive to initiate steam line repairs including the addition of a new heavy layer of insulation and steam tracing. Two years out, there have been no incidents of freezing, splitting or rupture and the remediation plan has lowered heating costs, reduced the amount of make-up water required by the system and greatly reduced chemical treatment costs. 

The third case study, Empowering staff pays very big dividends for remote northern Frist Nations’ health care, shows how supporting the training needs of facility staff can change a mindset and reduce significantly the costs of operating health care facilities in remote communities. As a result of building operator training conducted by the Coalition with funding from Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator under their Education and Capacity Building Program, WAHA’s motivated in-house team has been able to turn tens of thousands of utility and facility maintenance dollars into health care dollars for a healthier planet. 

Previously released Energy Management Best Practice Case Studies include an assessment of WAHA’s window replacement project which is saving the health authority a projected $126,000 annually, an outline of the success of the Coalition-delivered BOC training, and a recap of the first energy savings projects the Plant Operations and Maintenance team completed which includes multi-building lighting upgrades and a boiler replacement at the Weeneebayko General Hospital in Moose Factory (ON). 

All documents are free to download at: www.greenhealthcare.ca/northernenergy

 The Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care is Canada’s premier green health care resource network and is leading the evolution of green in Canada’s health sector as a national voice and catalyst for environmental change. Collaboratively we strive to reduce health care’s ecological impact from compassionate care delivery while providing a nurturing platform upon which to discuss and promote best practices, innovation, environmental responsibility and climate change resiliency. 

www.greenhealth care.ca 

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