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HUG was the first European university hospital to carry out an environmental assessment in 2009. Since then, it periodically repeats this operation that allows it to measure the impact of its activities on the environment, identify the main polluting and energy-consuming sources and undertake the actions required to reduce them.
The latest environmental assessment shows an improvement in terms of greenhouse gas emissions: in 2015, HUG emitted some 114,000 tons of CO2e, compared to 117,000 in 2014. Proof of the efforts made, the buildings’ energy consumption continued to drop despite the deployment of new infrastructure, including the new Laboratory and research building (BATLab). HUG consumes on average 85,859,562 kWh per year. The impact associated with staff travel has also been reduced (14,100 t of CO2e compared to 15,300 in 2014).
Thanks to the energy performance contract concluded with SIG, the first signed in Switzerland by a hospital, savings of 630,000 kWh, i.e. equivalent to the consumption of some 160 households, were made in 2016; in 2015, this collaboration allowed savings of 450,000 kWh (120 households).
160 this is the electricity savings made in 2016, in household equivalent
In order to encourage visitors and staff to use public transport, HUG has made major efforts to improve the service to the different hospital sites. In 2016, a key step was taken: at HUG’s suggestion, Transports Publics Genevois (TPG) line 1 was extended to serve the Belle-Idée and Trois-Chêne hospitals. The latter was the only establishment not to be connected to an urban line; moreover, traffic to this hospital has recently increased due to the opening of the new geriatric emergency department in November 2016.
Cyclists also have cause for celebration in 2016: 60 new places were created so that they can park their bicycles near different sites; 80 others were refurbished or made more secure.
HUG’s activities generate over 5,200 metric tons of waste per year. Considerable efforts have been made to improve the sorting and recycling of recoverable materials. The institution is constantly expanding its waste sorting infrastructure and raising awareness among its staff with regard to best practices to be adopted.
These actions have allowed significant progress to be made: in 2016, the recycling rate reached the target of 50% set by the canton (47.6% in 2015). An improvement is seen for virtually all recoverable materials: 1.87% for paper, 31.86% for Nespresso capsules, 33.95% for tinplate (tins), 30% for cartridges and toners, and 13% for glass. Only PET recovery has dropped because of the development of water fountains (56 new fountains in 2016).
Patients’ and babies’ linen, curtains, tablecloths, reception staff uniforms: each year, the Loëx hospital laundry handles around 120,000 kilos of delicate fabrics or textiles requiring special treatment. In 2016, new dry cleaning machines were introduced that incorporate a more environmentally friendly system: wet cleaning. The advantage of this process is that it no longer uses perchloroethylene; this grease remover traditionally used in laundries is undoubtedly extremely effective, but studies have shown that it was harmful both for humans and for lakes and rivers.
With wet cleaning, the fabric is only washed with water and biodegradable products that are non-toxic for the environment. In addition, the use of water removes any risks of inhalation or burns, which means increased safety for laundry employees.