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In the future, health care systems will also have to pay greater attention to sustainability. In project business, VAMED already integrates national environmental standards and regulations into the planning and construction of a hospital or other health care facility as an active contribution toward environmental protection. VAMED’s extensive expertise in environmental management is an important success factor especially in growth markets in Africa and Asia. VAMED built and now operates, for instance, a hospital in Gabon, Africa, which features a modern sewage treatment plant and a high-temperature incineration plant designed to European standards.

VAMED has also achieved successes in the service business. VAMED, for instance, is responsible for the technical management of the Vienna General Hospital and University Hospital AKH. The AKH is one of the largest operations in Austria and has more than 10,000 employees. Since 1996, the operating area of the AKH has increased by approximately 9% due to new construction. Compared to 1996, its energy and drinking water consumption has decreased significantly, which is a remarkable success considering the increased operating area. Energy consumption decreased by 12%, the demand for long-distance heat by 21%, and the drinking water consumption even by 43%. As a result, the direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions of the AKH also decreased.

Compared to 1996, emissions decreased by 14%, which is nearly three times higher than the international target set by the Kyoto Protocol, to reduce emissions by 5.2%. The success is especially due to improved air-conditioning and heat recovery. In addition to CO2, achievement of the Kyoto targets also takes into account other greenhouse gases. The AKH, together with VAMED, has set itself the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2012 by three times the amount required by the Kyoto Protocol.

Over the past 15 years, VAMED has also realized major improvements in the waste management of the AKH. One main project was, for example, the separation of waste. Compared to 2010, we reduced the volume of waste classified as hazardous medical waste by another 5%; since 1995, the total amount was reduced by 65%. The percentage of waste and recycling materials amounts to approximately 31% of the overall waste volume.

VAMED is also an active member of working groups and committees that formulate E-STANDARDS for hospitals. These are Austrian standards issued by the Austrian Standards Institute. In addition, an international working group dealing with hospital waste issues was founded by the IWWG (International Waste Working Group). IWWG is a working group of international scientists and companies focusing on sustainable waste management.

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