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Fresenius Helios

Hospitals are part of the health care system and bear a special responsibility in terms of environmental protection: They are expected to handle resources and energy consumption carefully, and to comply with demanding waste disposal and hygiene standards. They must also avoid any health risks for patients, employees, and the local environment.

HELIOS views waste disposal management as a process. It starts with avoiding any future waste, and ends with the consistent recycling or environmentally friendly disposal of the same. All waste is documented in a standardized manner and categorized into waste groups. Requirements pertaining to environmental protection, occupational health and safety, as well as infection protection and hospital hygiene are taken into account. That relates particularly to major waste groups such as clinical waste, i. e. from obstetrics, diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of human diseases, or mixed municipal waste. This includes general waste such as household waste, bulky waste, and potential recyclables. In 2011, the total amount of waste generated in all HELIOS hospitals amounted to 11,960 t (2010: 11,631 t). Of this waste, about 99% is attributable to the two waste groups listed above.

A major source of energy consumption at hospitals is the need for air-conditioning in the working areas and in patients’ rooms. For instance, medical equipment that generates heat, such as a magnetic resonance tomographs, computer tomographs, and other imaging equipment, linear accelerators, and left cardiac catheter measuring devices must constantly be cooled. The higher usage of IT technology also increases the energy demand, because the server rooms must be operated and cooled.

The structural condition of a hospital building also has an important influence on energy consumption. HELIOS invests in environmental protection on an ongoing basis through structural measures. All new construction projects and modernizations conform to the latest standards of efficient heat insulation pursuant to the currently valid energy savings regulations. In 2011, maintenance costs remained at the previous year’s level of €84 million.

The energy sourcing for all of the Group’s clinics is done centrally through an online purchasing platform. This platform not only supplies data on consumption at the clinics, but also benchmarks that enable higher-than-average levels of energy consumption to be detected and appropriate action to be taken. In addition, HELIOS is successively switching over the heating for its clinics to renewable energies, for instance wood pellets. This form of heating is CO2-neutral and therefore more environment-friendly than gas or oil heating. Following the Borna location, five additional locations followed in 2011, so that now six hospitals generate a part of the needed heat from renewable energies. Other locations will follow in 2012. The aim is successively to convert the heating at all HELIOS clinics to wood pellets as structural alterations are planned or boilers need to be replaced.

Water consumption in all HELIOS hospitals amounted to 2,140,000 m3 (2010: 2,055,000 m3). The increase of 4% is predominantly due to the initial consolidation of the hospitals in Helmstedt and Rottweil in 2011. Excluding these hospitals, water consumption would have slightly decreased. The majority of all water is consumed for sterilization processes, process cooling, and water recycling plants. Overly high water savings would not make sense, because a too low water change-out in the pipes would cause hygienic issues. In order to comply with the critical values stipulated by the German Drinking Water Ordinance, sections of pipes that are not used frequently, would have to be flushed on a regular basis. This would, once again, increase water consumption. To reduce consumption, some hospitals are using well water, for instance for the cooling towers of air-conditioning systems.

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