Island Health is committed to caring for patients and the environment.
This means working together to reduce our carbon emissions and improve efficiencies, while delivering excellent care.
Watch the video Greening Our Practice below.
Carbon Neutral Action Reports
British Columbia has some of the most advanced climate legislation in the world. As a public sector organization we must report our carbon emissions and ensure we are 'carbon neutral'.
Energy Efficiency & Conservation
BC’s carbon neutral legislation requires we reduce our carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 from 2007 levels. Island Health’s Energy team works with many departments such as Facilities, Maintenance & Operations, Purchasing, and Design & Construction as well as utilities (BC Hydro & FortisBC) to reduce electricity and natural gas use at our owned buildings.
Although energy upgrades such as efficient boilers and lighting retrofits are important, it’s clear we cannot meet our carbon reduction target with a “business as usual” strategy. The Strategic Energy Management Plan (SEMP) is a five year plan and our road map to a more sustainable future. We need more than technology to reach our carbon goals. We need everyone's help.
There are many initiatives underway at Island Health to reduce our environmental impact and promote positive changes in how we deliver care.
In addition to reducing harmful carbon emissions, Island Health is preparing for a changing climate. Climate change has the potential to impact human health, and also presents risks to health care infrastructure and operations. To ensure Island Health is well prepared, we are conducting a range of assessments, identifying vulnerabilities, and working to build resilience.
Nanaimo Regional General Hospital was the first hospital in Canada to complete a PIEVC Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment.
Island Health’s recycling program is available at all of our owned health care facilities. Many materials are recycled including batteries and worn linens are donated to local community groups.
Island Health regularly composts all lawn and garden waste where community facilities allow and kitchen waste is composted in Nanaimo, Parksville, Qualicum and Victoria.
All new health facilities must be built with “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” principals, or LEED, and meet LEED gold certification. Island Health currently has two LEED Gold facilities, the Patient Care Centre in Victoria and the Emergency Department at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (NRGH), as well as one LEED Silver facility – the Oceanside Health Centre in Parksville.
Island Health reports carbon emissions from office paper consumption as part of the Carbon Neutral Action Report. In addition to actively reducing our paper usage, Island Health uses tree-free paper made with the residue waste of sugar production. Saving paper also saves toner, trees, water and reduces our carbon footprint.
We "Travel Smart"
Island Health encourages staff to choose “travel smart” options such as walking, bicycling, transit and carpooling. Patients can also reduce travel time and costs by participating in the Telehealth program which brings expert health care to rural communities via video link. The Logistics Department is managing our fleet well by replacing aged vehicles with high efficiency models and zero-emissions vehicles.
Solar Energy at Island Health
Island Health has five solar arrays including one of the largest solar photovoltaic (electricity) sites on Vancouver Island at West Coast General Hospital (WCGH) in Port Alberni, BC. See the solar energy produced at WCGH in real time on-line. Victoria General, Saanich Peninsula and Aberdeen Hospitals (Victoria), as well as Cairnsmore Place (Duncan) have solar “thermal” installations which preheat the hot water and reduce natural gas use and their emissions.
Alternative energy provides many benefits. The energy produced by solar helps protect operating budgets against the rising cost of energy. The extra power in the summer from solar photovoltaic goes to offset the heavy air conditioning demand and the high cost of “peak demand” rates thereby helping to reduce utility costs and carbon pollution.