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Fresenius Helios

Because of their great need for resources and energy, it is essential that hospitals deal carefully with both of them. And the requirements imposed on hospitals are increasing, both in terms of proper waste disposal and of hygiene. They must also avoid any health risks for patients, employees, and the local environment.

HELIOS views waste disposal management as a process. It starts with avoiding any future waste, and ends with the consistent recycling or environmentally friendly disposal of the same. Requirements pertaining to environmental protection, occupational health and safety, as well as infection protection and hospital hygiene are taken into account. That relates particularly to major waste groups such as clinical waste, i. e. from diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of human diseases, or mixed municipal waste. This includes general waste such as household waste, bulky waste, and potential recyclables. In 2012, the total amount of waste generated in all HELIOS hospitals amounted to 12,593 t (2011: 11,960 t).

A major source of energy consumption at hospitals is the need for air-conditioning in the working areas and in patients’ rooms. For instance, medical equipment that generates heat, such as a magnetic resonance tomographs, computer tomographs, and other imaging equipment, linear accelerators, and left cardiac catheter measuring devices must constantly be cooled. The higher usage of IT technology also increases energy demand, because the server rooms must be operated and cooled. The structural condition of a hospital building also has an important influence on energy consumption. HELIOS invests in environmental protection on an ongoing basis through structural measures. All new construction projects and modernizations conform to the latest standards of efficient heat insulation pursuant to the currently valid energy savings regulations, e. g. more energy-efficient windows. In 2012, maintenance costs were €110 million (2011: €84 million).

HELIOS is successively switching the heating for its clinics over to renewable energies, for instance wood pellets. This form of heating is CO2-neutral and therefore more environmentally friendly than gas or oil heating. 12 hospitals generate a part of the heat needed from renewable energies. The annual demand for pellets currently stands at 12,500 t. More hospitals, including Bad Grönenbach and Hamburg-Harburg, will be equipped with pellet-based heating in 2013. The aim is to gradually convert the heating at all HELIOS clinics to wood pellets – where this makes commercial sense – as structural alterations are planned or boilers need to be replaced. Thanks to the steps it has already taken, HELIOS generated approximately 6,000 t less CO2 in 2012 than with the old oil- and gas-fired heating systems. HELIOS assumes that there will be a further 7,000 t reduction of CO2 from using the new pellet-based heating in 2013, virtually doubling the total reduction to approximately 13,000 t.

Water consumption in all HELIOS hospitals amounted to 1,984,000 m3 (2011: 2,140,000 m3), excluding the newly acquired Damp hospitals. The majority of all water is consumed for sterilization processes, process cooling, and water recycling plants. Overly high water savings would not make sense, because a too low water change-out in the pipes would cause hygienic issues. In order to comply with the German Drinking Water Ordinance, sections of pipes that are not used frequently, would have to be flushed on a regular basis. This in turn would again increase water consumption. To reduce consumption, some hospitals are using well water, for instance for the cooling towers of air-conditioning systems. We adapt the technical systems to the actual level of water consumption. New control systems decrease the amount of water used in heating systems, which further reduces the demand for water.

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