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Do you know the environmental impact of your practice? David Gibson Eschmann

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  Posted by: The Probe      17th November 2019

We all know that we need to make a shift towards becoming more eco-friendly. You’ve undoubtedly seen the recent wave of articles and other media suggesting that we give up plastics or explore re-usable materials in our practices, but what about considering the energy and water you use on a daily basis?

Energy efficiency is just as important to consider when it comes to doing your bit and cutting down your environmental footprint, especially as adopting materials such as reusable instruments may require equipment such as autoclaves more often. According to the Carbon Trust, the healthcare industry in the UK spends more than £400 million per year on energy, and much of this is wasted.[i] So what can you do to cut down your expenditures and help the planet? It’s worth focusing on how your energy is currently being used and looking at different high-expense areas separately to see if you can make any changes.

Not such a bright spark

Electricity is likely to be one of the biggest expenditures in your practice. After all, with equipment to power, lights and computers all in constant use, energy expenditure can quickly add up. In fact, in most healthcare environments it is thought that electricity bills are responsible for 50% of their overall outgoings![ii]

The best way to conquer this is to look at the smaller changes you can make.  Even minor adjustments such as introducing screensavers to computer screens can save considerable amounts of electricity. Try replacing lightbulbs where possible with LED alternatives – these use up to 75% less energy than traditional bulbs.[iii]These bulbs also tend to last significantly longer than traditional lightbulbs, meaning you won’t have to replace them as often. It’s also a good idea to see if a smart meter would be a viable option for your practice. These devices track electricity use, meaning you can see how any adjustments are affecting your spending, whilst also conserving power and helping the environment.

Heating your practice

In the UK, central heating is inevitable, especially due to the unpredictability of our weather. However, did you know that even overheating by one degree can increase fuel costs by up to 8%?[iv] Although it’s important to create a comfortable atmosphere in your practice, it’s definitely worthwhile looking at your heating costs and seeing if they can be cheaper.

Perhaps you can install a thermostat which you can adjust easily via tablet? It’s always a good idea to compare costs of your current provider against others and see if you can get any deals – this way you can make significant savings while being more aware of the energy you’re using. Another way to conserve heat is to see if your practice has any architectural details that can be improved on. Double glazing can help buildings retain heat far more effectively, and extra insulation in rooftops can also considerably cut down the heating needed to keep a practice warm. These may involve considerable outlays at first, but will soon repay themselves by cutting down bills each month.

Water, water everywhere – you use more than you think!

Alongside electricity, water usage in dental practices is another huge expense. If you imagine how much water an average person uses to brush their teeth at home (5 gallons per week if they leave the tap running),[v] it’s easy to see how much more a dental practice uses per day. That’s not even to mention the amount of water used in autoclaves and vacuum systems – both of which are difficult to operate without water.

The best way to cut down on water usage is to be strict with it. Do you leave the water running when treating patients? Do staff leave the tap running when washing their hands? By keeping an eye out for these behaviours, you can quickly save a lot of water without compromising efficiency.

Make a swap for more eco-friendly equipment

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to conserve energy is to invest in equipment that is more eco conscious. Autoclaves, in particular, can use a lot of electricity and water, and this can quickly add up if you have to run the system multiple times during the day.

The Little Sister SES 2020N autoclave from Eschmann is a greener choice. The system features a large, 17-litre capacity, which means you won’t have to run it nearly as much as a smaller model, saving both electricity and water. Furthermore, with features such as rapid drying cycles, instruments are ready for use much faster for greater efficiency whilst also helping the environment.

A greener future

In the end, it’s important that we all look at ways to cut down our energy footprint. By monitoring your energy usage and thinking of ways to reduce your impact, you can help preserve the planet.

For more information on the highly effective and affordable range of decontamination equipment and products from Eschmann, please visit www.eschmann.co.uk or call 01903 753322

 

[i] Carbon Trust. Healthcare. Link: https://www.carbontrust.com/resources/guides/sector-based-advice/healthcare/ [Last accessed June 19].

[ii] Carbon Trust. Healthcare. Link: https://www.carbontrust.com/resources/guides/sector-based-advice/healthcare/ [Last accessed June 19].

[iii] BBH. Five Ways To Improve Energy Efficiency in the Dental Sector. Link: https://www.buildingbetterhealthcare.co.uk/news/article_page/Five_ways_to_improve_energy_efficiency_in_the_dental_sector/116875 [Last accessed June 19].

[iv] Carbon Trust. Healthcare. Link: https://www.carbontrust.com/resources/guides/sector-based-advice/healthcare/ [Last accessed June 19].

[v] Glen Canyon Institute. Water Conservation. Link: https://www.glencanyon.org/water-conservation/ [Last accessed June 19].


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