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Expert outlines need for sustainable FM in hospitals

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9 Mar 2016

Highlighting the need for sustainable FM solutions within hospitals and other healthcare facilities, was the focus of a presentation by Markus Oberlin, CEO of multi-award winning UAE-based Farnek, at the Green Hospital Symposium, organised and hosted by the Saudi German Hospital in Dubai.

Markus Oberlin, addresses delegates at the Green Hospital Symposium in the Saudi German Hospital, Dubai.
Markus Oberlin, addresses delegates at the Green Hospital Symposium in the Saudi German Hospital, Dubai.

“Essentially hospitals are buildings that have been designed to provide healthcare facilities and services. However, the buildings operate like any other, especially in terms of facilities management, albeit with specialist health and safety, cleaning and waste management,” said Oberlin.

In general hospitals need to be cleaned according to four major risk bands, which would cover very high to low risk areas, for example - intensive care, general ward, rehabilitation and administration respectively.

Energy savings in hospitals can be made through the reduction in carbon emissions – in many cases electricity bills can be slashed by 15% with the implementation and monitoring of A/C modules, therefore becoming more cost efficient.

“Put that into cold hard cash – following a survey we conducted after the last DEWA tariff increase, a city hotel in Dubai of around 35,000m2 today, would have an annual electricity bill of well over AED 5.2 million. Therefore, energy savings alone could be worth as much as AED 750,000 per annum,” commented Oberlin.

Another vital area is medical waste. Hospitals, clinics and pharmacies in Dubai produce about six tonnes of medical waste every day, or 120 tonnes per month. Research by Johns Hopkins Medicine highlighted the multi-million dollar savings, hospitals can make by incorporating sustainable practices such as reducing waste.

The UAE’s waste management initiatives have been grabbing the headlines in recent years. Dubai for example has set a target of zero landfill waste by 2030, which is challenging, especially when you consider that in 2013 Dubai sent 2.6 million tonnes of waste to landfill of which an estimated 15-25% was medical-related waste such as glass and laboratory equipment.

Dubai Municipality is also contemplating increasing its landfill fees, currently it charges AED 10 per truckload of waste – by comparison Abu Dhabi already charges AED 225 per tonne, adding even more expense to inefficient waste management operations. Moreover, due to the HSE issues surrounding medical waste, hospitals can be fined as much as AED 200,000 for failing to handle and segregate their waste prior to collection.

By outsourcing waste management, hospitals in the UAE can let expert facility managers take on the responsibility for optimising waste segregation and promoting a reduce, reuse and recycle philosophy to ultimately cut down the overall amount of waste generated, as well as ensuring hazardous waste is treated responsibly.

“Our operational audit team, highlight the areas where improvements can be made to essentially reduce the volume of waste generated that would ordinarily go to landfill. We also offer advice on responsible disposing and how to segregate waste efficiently, maximising the amount of cash rebates available from the companies that pick-up and dispose of waste,” added Oberlin.

As part of the company’s BICSc (British Institute of Cleaning Science) certified cleaning services, waste management is included as an integral part of the program, further enhancing Farnek’s sustainable proposition.

In recognition of its sustainability efforts, Farnek has been the proud recipient of the renowned Facilities Management Middle East Awards 'Green FM Company of the Year' in 2012, 2014 and once again in 2015.

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