Fresenius Helios

At hospitals, water disposal, hygiene, and high energy requirements place exacting demands on environmental management.

In the area of waste disposal, the goal is a cost-efficient and environmentally compatible solution. We see waste management as a process that begins already at the purchasing stage and ends with systematic recycling. All waste materials are recorded using a standardized system and are classified into corresponding waste categories. We use this data, for instance, as a basis for deciding whether to conclude contracts with regional waste management companies or to have a Group-wide contract with one company.

More and more disposable articles are being used in the medical products at hospitals. However, this is not necessarily at the expense of environmental protection. Disposable covers in the operating theater, for instance, have a better environmental impact than reusable ones. This is because their production and preparation for reuse consumes more energy than that required to produce and dispose of covers that are only used once.

Hygiene requirements place limits on the use of regenerative energy sources at hospitals. Solar energy-based water heating systems, for instance, are not a feasible solution for hospitals, in our view. The temperature level of the heat produced, unlike that of conventionally produced heat, provides ideal conditions for the spread of Legionella bacteria. The contamination of drinking water with Legionella can have fatal consequences for patients whose immune system is impaired. For this reason, HELIOS does not use solar energy at its clinics.

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 tomograph, needs to be 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. In 2010, €84 million was spent on maintenance (2009: €82 million).

The energy sourcing for all of the Group’s clinics is done centrally through an online purchasing platform. This platform not only supplies data on consumption at the clinics, but also benchmarks that enable higher-than-average levels of energy consumption to be detected and appropriate action to be taken.

In addition, HELIOS is successively switching over the heating for its clinics to wood pellets. This form of heating is CO2-neutral and therefore more environment-friendly than gas or oil heating. A pilot project at the HELIOS clinic in Borna produced very good results, so the Bad Ems and Bergisch Land clinics have now also switched over to wood pellet heating. The clinics in Bad Saarow and Plauen are due to follow in 2011. The aim is successively to convert the heating at all HELIOS clinics to wood pellets as structural alterations are planned or boilers need to be replaced.

An environmental and energy-saving project launched in 2008 has been introduced at other locations. Under this project HELIOS highlights numerous ways in which clinic staff can save energy. Employees also receive training to encourage environmental awareness. Information brochures provide practical tips on environment-friendly behavior in day-to-day hospital routine. This initiative is to be rolled out Group-wide.

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