Background and importance Preparation of the Greenhouse Gas Emission Balance (GGEB) has become mandatory in hospitals but is not yet carried out in healthcare services.
Aim and objectives The objectives were to carry out the GGEB of a sterilisation unit, to calculate the carbon cost of a central sterile services department (CSSD) and to propose improvements to limit these emissions.
Material and methods Three aspects were selected from a document carried out on one of the establishments of our hospital group (GH): environment, staff and equipment. The data relating to the carbon cost of staff transport, waste produced, consumables used, equipment maintenance and energy consumption, as well as the water consumed by the unit were calculated or measured and related to 1 year of activity. They were then associated with the carbon emission factor created to produce the GH GGEB. The carbon balance obtained was applied to the CSSD national production indicators (S point).
Results The GGEB unit was 88 tons of CO2 produced per year. Energy (electricity, steam from the Parisian District Heating Company (PDHC) network) and water consumption accounted for 75% of emissions and equipment maintenance for 18%. Waste and staff transport generated 3.5% and 3.0% of the carbon footprint, respectively. The carbon cost related to consumables could not be defined due to a lack of information from the main suppliers. In 2019, the unit treated 7 565 710 S points, so the treatment of 1 S point released 12 g of CO2.
Conclusion and relevance Energy and water constituted the first emitting item in this balance sheet, which remained underestimated due to a lack of data. The methodology remains to be validated and the emission factors used to be confirmed, in the absence of a bibliography on this subject. Nevertheless, this work can serve as a basis for calculating the carbon cost of any surgical operation. Finally, to limit these emissions, the use of the PDHC network and the installation of a chilled water system on the autoclaves have been implemented in the unit. This work initiates a reflection on the carbon footprint of this activity and the development of actions to reduce these emissions.
Conflict of interest No conflict of interest
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