Climate Change is a Health Care Issue

A lack of progress in reducing emissions and building adaptive capacity threatens both human lives and the viability of the national health systems they depend on, with the potential to disrupt core public health infrastructure and overwhelm health services.

This is not a quote from Greenpeace, Al Gore, or David Suzuki. It is from The Lancet, one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world. More and more health organizations are recognizing climate change as the biggest global health threat of the 21st century. Canadian health organizations, such as the Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, and others are urging decisive action from political and business leaders, institutions, and individuals to reign in CO2 emissions that are causing climate change.

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Flash Flooding in Toronto. Photo Source

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UHN’s CEAL Lab Installs New Lighting System

An innovative new LED lighting system has been installed at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute’s CEAL lab (Challenging Environment Assessment Lab). Researchers in this lab conduct world class experiments to advance knowledge in mobility, aging, accessibility, design safety, and much more. The lab itself is a unique space with high ceilings located in the basement of TRI’s University Centre. Feel free to read more about the exciting research conducted at CEAL and throughout TRI at this link.

Before taking a deeper dive into the project, here are some quick energy savings numbers:

  • Electricity Savings: 88,000 kWh
  • Cost Savings: $12,300
  • Payback: 1.8 years
  • Additional benefits: Reliability

The before and after photos below demonstrate how LED lights can improve performance while saving energy at the same time.

Before and after

Left hand picture shows original fluorescent lighting, right hand picture shows new LED lighting

Background:

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Huge Savings from Ongoing LED Retrofits

As I mentioned in my Terminator themed T8 blog, I’ll be back. And now I’m back to let you know how the roll out of our T8 retrofit program is going. Since that original blog *checks watch* three years ago (!) we have replaced huge numbers of lamps throughout UHN, so this is a story that all sites can celebrate! Here are some quick numbers for lamps retrofitted at each site:

  • TGH – 5,500
  • TWH – 6,000
  • PMH – 6,500
  • TRI – 2,000

Total UHN: 20,000 lamps!

For those that are wondering what I’m talking about when I say “LED T8 tube” check the image below. The 8 refers to the diameter of the lamp in eighths of an inch (eight eighths is one inch).

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This is an LED T8 tube

Energy Savings

So far, we have primarily installed new LED tubes in 24 hour applications, such as lobbies, hallways, stairwells, mechanical spaces, etc. The long run hours of these lamps mean that we are savings lots of energy and getting a faster payback.

UHN-wide savings total almost 1,500,000 kWh based on the 20,000 T8 lamps replaced. This is equivalent to the electricity consumption of 155 houses in Ontario!

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Other Benefits of LED

Light Levels: In certain hallways at TGH, people were asking if the walls had been painted. This is because the LED lamps produce slightly more light than the old fluorescent lamps, enhancing hallway appearance and safety in previously under lit areas. We recognize that higher light output is not always desired and are also purchasing lower wattage T8s for sensitive areas.

Shatterproof: The LED lamps are made of a shatterproof plastic material, meaning they are safer to install and service than glass fluorescent tubes.

No Mercury: Old fluorescent lamps use mercury, a highly toxic substance, as a key component to make the lamp function. If a fluorescent lamp were to break, the mercury would escape and risk exposure to building occupants. LEDs have no mercury or any materials that can be released into the air. They are considered to be electronic waste, however, and must still be disposed of appropriately.

Longer service life: Fluorescent lamps have a typical service life of 20,000 hours and tend to degrade in performance and colour throughout their life. The LEDs installed have 50,000 hour life and new ones we are now purchasing have 70,000 hour lifespans. This extended life will free up some of our maintenance staff time that is spent changing light bulbs so that they can work on important tasks, such as preventive maintenance.

Ongoing Project

Since our original T8 supply contract, costs of LEDs have dropped almost in half and we have a new contract in place. Additionally, the LED lamps are now only 15W instead of the original 18W, while maintaining the exact same light output. With the lower cost of purchase and increased energy savings, it is now very cost effective to replace lamps not only in 24 hour areas, but in all areas. We are aggressively pursuing more replacements across UHN, including the following projects that are underway:

  • TRI: 2,100 lamps (including relamping all T8s in Lyndurst and Rumsey Centre)
  • TGH: 5,000 lamps
  • KDT: 9,000 lamps (relamping the entire building)

I would like to thank the facilities teams who have worked hard to make these projects a success, especially at TRI and TGH, where facilities staff have done all the relamping work in house. Bravo!

I’se the B’y That Went to CHES

UHN had major representation at this year’s national CHES (Canadian Healthcare Engineering Society) conference, which was hosted in St. John’s Newfoundland (hence, the blog title). I was honoured to speak at the conference discussing some preliminary energy results of TGH’s new central cooling plant. I was lucky to share the stage with our former colleague, Chad Berndt, who was the mastermind behind the project. Chad is now working with the company that delivered the project, Enwave Energy Corp.

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UHN Cost Savings Analysizer

First off, congrats to the energy team Ed, Lisa, Songyang, Allan, and the recently departed Chad on saving almost $14M cumulatively since the start of the energy manager program at UHN! And now, some background information on how I came up with this number. It started with a question:

“If we are doing so much energy management, why are the bills still higher!?” Continue reading

New Chiller Plant Saves “Tons” of Energy at UHN’s Bickle Centre

With recent string of extremely high temperatures, it’s the perfect time to talk about how Bickle’s new chiller plant is saving us energy and improving reliability. For those less interested in the story and pictures, here are the cold, hard results: Continue reading

Mike at Home: The Sequel

When Ontario is giving out free smart thermostats, you know it’s time for a blog! Most of my recent blog posts have been about projects at UHN, so this time I’m going to change it up and talk about a couple of neat technologies I’m using at my apartment to save energy. Both of these savings ideas were mentioned in my previous Mike at Home Blog, but these new technologies really help to put those ideas into practice in a convenient way. There are many ways to save energy at home, even if you are a renter like me!

Smart Thermostat

I already had a programmable thermostat which was helping to save energy, but I wasn’t able to maximize savings for a couple of reasons. One way I typically try to save power is by setting back the thermostat if I’m away for a weekend or longer vacation, however this often led to an uncomfortably cold temperature for a few hours upon return. When energy savings lead to discomfort it can be difficult to maintain the energy savings behavior and I may have been less consistent in doing the temperature set back as a result. With my old thermostat on the fritz, I took the opportunity to upgrade to a web-connected thermostat.

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New Thermostat (source)

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