Lighting and solar upgrade for major hospital moves the dial on energy savings

The iconic Burnside Hospital in metropolitan Adelaide has completed a major commercial solar and energy efficient lighting upgrade in a move expected to save the not for profit, community hospital more than $2.5 million over the next 20 years.

Energy Services business Verdia managed the energy efficiency fit out for the hospital which included the installation of 950 energy efficient LED lights over the past three months, followed by a 160kW rooftop solar PV system made up of 582 solar panels.

Burnside Hospital provides patient-centric health care services via a 76-bed facility in its Toorak Gardens location. Like many large residential and commercial buildings its energy needs are driven by heating and cooling, cooking, lighting, refrigeration and hot water.

However, it also needs to power up critical medical, surgical and clinical services such as operating theatres, maternity and delivery suites, a sleep study centre, a high dependency unit and many onsite specialist tenants such as pathology and radiology.

The hospital previously reduced its energy use via upgrades to its lifts, generators and air conditioning units. Verdia was brought in to deliver the important upgrade to the hospital’s lighting fixtures and rooftop commercial solar installation.

Verdia CEO Paul Peters said the lighting and solar upgrade was a natural next step for the hospital to improve its financial and environmental performance.

“The hospital’s electricity costs had almost doubled over a 12-month period and so the energy efficient upgrade was a smart move,” Mr Peters said.

“It’s going to help reduce energy use by about 26 per cent and help save about $145,000 a year in energy costs – or more than $2.6 million over the next 20 years.

“It’s also helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the hospital by about 230 tonnes a year – that’s the same as taking 131 cars off the road each year.

“So it will have a lasting environmental benefit the hospital and its patients.”

While the energy efficiency fit out is helping to reduce operating costs, the main driver for the hospital was to create healthcare services that had less impact on the environment and spaces with better amenity for patients and their families.

“The project is in line with the expectations of our community and also makes good business sense by reducing our energy footprint over the long term.” Burnside Hospital Chair Frank Kite said.

“We’re committed to adopting technologies and practices that are environmentally beneficial and reflective of a contemporary healthcare provider.

“The combined efforts of the hospital to reduce its carbon footprint are in sync with a global trend for greening healthcare facilities to create a better and healthier environment for patients and our community.”

The LED lighting upgrade is producing a cleaner luminosity for patients and staff, which is welcomed particularly by patients confined to bed or those staying multiple days.

The commercial solar PV system will contribute 210 MWh of electricity to the hospital each year which is about 12% of the operational requirement.  The upgrade is expected to have a 3.7 year pay back.

“We were able to bring in the technical expertise that the Burnside Hospital needed to help deliver this project,” Mr Peters said.

“This meant we could support Burnside Hospital to de-risk the investment, deliver the program from start to finish and make sure the hospital could access all available benefits sooner”.