The 148 residents at St. Vincent’s: Brock Fahrni and 217 residents at St. Vincent’s: Langara are living a little more comfortably in their homes thanks to a recently installed cooling system.

Not only does this system help keep things climate controlled inside these Vancouver long-term care residences, but it’s also limiting the impact they have on climate change as a whole.

With World Environment Day​ just around the corner (June 5), let’s take a deeper dive into the efforts underway to reduce PHC’s climate impact.

How it started

Neither of these residences had a cooling system. Then in 2020, under the direction of Tony Munster, Executive Director – Projects, Planning & Facilities Management, the decision was made to change this in order to improve resident comfort.

While a wonderful project on its own, it was made all the better when a FortisBC incentive program came to light. The program is designed to incentivize efforts to introduce heat recovery systems that reduce gas consumption and resulting Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A serendipitous moment, indeed!

In the end, Heat Recovery Chiller systems that use Thermal Gradient Header technology, designed by Impact EngineeringIntegral Group and Thermenex​, were implemented in 2021. This innovative system extracts w​​​aste heat from the facilities that would otherwise be lost to atmosphere, and uses it to heat the buildings and also produce domestic hot water.

How it’s going

So far, things are looking pretty amazing!

Residents are very happy with being able to keep cool during the summer months. And as the included charts show, against the baseline year of 2020, we look on track to meet or exceed the 80% GHG emissions reduction target!

What’s next?

The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Project is driving both of the above initiatives, and there is more on the way!

This project is targeting an 80% reduction of GHG emissions by 2024 at six core PHC sites.

This includes the work already underway at St. Vincent’s: Brock Fahrni and St. Vincent’s: Langara, as well as improvements to Mount Saint Joseph Hospital, Holy Family Hospital, Youville Residence and St. Vincent’s: Honoria Conway (St. Paul’s Hospital has been excluded given the planned relocation).

As you can see, there’s lots more to come on the sustainability front, so stay tuned! And in the meantime, maybe consider becoming a Green+Leader?

Happy World Environment Day! Remember, there’s “Only one Earth”, so let’s do our part to take care of it.

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