Driving Sustainability in Healthcare with Smart Water Management

Water optimisation provides a viable route to meeting greener standards for healthcare organisations says Ian Adams, Head of Marketing Clearwater Technology

Operating reliably under budgets that are constantly becoming tighter is a major challenge for many hospitals and healthcare organisations, whether publicly or privately owned or funded. In recent years, a further challenge has emerged and that is operating sustainably – meeting growing pressure from governments and the general public to meet greener environmental standards.

For hospitals and healthcare organisations, achieving sustainability isn’t just about becoming greener. It’s about doing so in a way that allows them to continue to operate reliably within the parameters of their already stretched budgets.

There are many different factors that can contribute to overcoming this challenge, but a major element in achieving greener standards quickly – with a positive impact on the bottom line and gains in reliability – is smarter water management.

When on-site water treatment equipment is designed, delivered, and developed effectively, the resulting reductions in water consumption will have the knock-on effect of a greener overall operation. Not only does this reduce the site’s overall energy consumption, resulting in a reduced carbon footprint, it will also have a significant impact on the organisation’s other utilities such as gas and electricity.

Water is integral in so many areas in hospitals and healthcare organisations, from heating and cooling equipment, kitchens and bathrooms to hydrotherapy and rehabilitation pools. In each application, the correct procedures must be followed to ensure compliances and hygiene standards are being maintained. The first step in achieving greener standards through water optimisation is analysing each application in which water is used and determining where sustainability gains can be achieved.

Sustainable Gains

Significant reductions in energy consumption can be achieved through the optimisation of steam boilers. Through analysis of a typical water treatment and pre-treatment programme, the cycles of concentration in each boiler can be optimised to reduce the amount of water required to maintain a constant steam load. Implementing a turn-key pre-treatment plant will reduce the amount of waste water from the boiler, creating a significant reduction in energy consumption as well as lower operational costs.

Further energy savings can be achieved through the optimisation of cooling towers. In a typical cooling tower, the quality of make-up water can be optimised through treatment. Systems can also be analysed for losses and leaks which are commonly overlooked. It has been shown that effective optimisation can result in water savings of as much as 33 percent. Within the cooling towers, fans and recirculation pumps that cool the water can be swapped out with alternatives that are more energy efficient, allowing water to be recirculated at a desired rate rather than a constant rate.

Recirculating water at a constant rate typically results in water returning and overflowing the cooling tower base holding tanks. But systems can to be put in place to capture and re-use a portion of the bleed water from the cooling tower, creating greater operational efficiency.

Supporting Sustainability

Further cost reductions can be made by analysing the site’s water source. Once the treatment of this water is optimised, making the water fit for purpose in a cost-effective way, the organisation will achieve further reductions in overheads, freeing up budgets to invest in other sustainability programmes.

Borehole water is often seen as a cheaper solution than sourcing water from the local provider. However, water treatment is essential to meeting water regulation compliances and ensuring that it will be fit for purpose. Borehole water filtration and disinfection should be performed by chlorine dioxide generation systems and certain processes may also require reverse osmosis or re-mineralisation depending on which application the water will be used for.

Optimising with expertise

These water management solutions can be implemented cost-effectively, with minimal disruption to the essential ongoing services of a hospital or healthcare organisation. But to ensure this, the consultation and subsequent implementation must be carried out by a water management provider that has proven experience and expertise in providing solutions to the healthcare sector.

Once these water treatment solutions have been implemented, any hospital or healthcare organisation can expect to see immediate reductions in energy usage, resulting in a smaller carbon footprint. To make this entire drive towards greener standards viable for any hospital or healthcare organisation faced with financial challenges, the water treatment technologies must deliver true return on investment and this will require transparent reporting methods.

Identifying a water management provider that is experienced in the healthcare sector and delivers measurable savings in cost and energy consumption will enable any hospital or healthcare organisation to feasibly meet the green standards that are being expected of all industries, regardless of the specific challenges they might face.

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This article was originally posted here: https://clearwater.eu.com/smart-water-management/