MUSKOKA - Buildings, not unlike humans, get old, run down and even a little leaky.
That’s why Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare is moving forward with an energy efficiency project at both its Bracebridge and Huntsville hospital sites that should provide substantial savings year-over-year and greater comfort to both patients and staff.
“Many of our systems are simply out of date. The good news, with this program, we can fix that,” said Harold Featherston, MAHC senior director of clinical support and planning.
The South Muskoka hospital site in Bracebridge opened in 1964 and Huntsville in 1979, and many of the heating, cooling, lighting and water systems are original or have not been improved in some time. By improving those systems, Featherston said the Huntsville site could realize annual utility cost savings of up to 22 per cent and Bracebridge 25 per cent.
“That is a significant savings,” Featherston added, saying the project won’t necessarily mean having to replace each facility’s systems. “We will be able to optimize our systems and do other things like eliminating leaks.
“But it’s not all about just the energy savings and the financial savings that come with that, it’s also going to make the environment much more comfortable so there are plenty of benefits to patients and staff in those buildings.”
Once the renovations and optimizations are complete, Featherston said that 22 and 25 per cent of utility budget savings would mean approximately $357,000 more for patient care per year, based on today’s rates.
“We all hear energy costs will likely rise significantly over the years and as costs rise, our efficiencies will only save us more money,” he added.
The MAHC board of directors approved a borrowing contract with Scotiabank to a maximum of $2.8 million during its most recent meeting on Feb. 14, which would be paid back at a rate of approximately $340,000 per year until the 2021/22 financial year (based on the maximum).
The program is a joint project between MAHC, Georgian Bay, Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial and Collingwood hospitals. Featherston said the preliminary investigation with the group began back in 2010, as each studied their facilities to find efficiencies. Now the preliminary studies are complete, MAHC will be able to begin its renovations and improvements later this spring, he said. The goal is to have work completed within about 18 months.