Doctor Louisa Hope from the Mostyn Street Medical Clinic is a member of Doctors for the Environment.
Medical Centres in Castlemaine are expanding on their sustainability strategies in an effort to reduce their impact on the environment and address climate change.
We visited one of them, the Mostyn St Medical Clinic to hear what Dr Louisa Hope and her colleagues are doing in their quest to lower their emissions and become carbon neutral.
According to Dr Hope, a member of Doctors for the Environment, healthcare contributes 5% to total carbon emissions ( more in some countries than others.)
We chatted to her, sitting in the waiting room of the beautiful old building that was once the private maternity hospital, Ballara. She explains that these older buildings are well ventilated but are not so good for heating and cooling.
The roof of the building is however covered in solar panels, 46 in total, which were installed in 2019 and later a Tesla battery was purchased, resulting in a massive reduction in their power bill. For example, in the 3 months of January to March 2020 their bill dropped from $1304 to $109.
As well as contributing to this reduction, the battery protects precious vaccines from the impact of power outages which can occur frequently in Castlemaine.
Other measures they’ve adopted include;
- introducing metal speculums and surgical instruments that they sterilise after use instead of disposing of single use ones
- wearing cotton gowns that they wash once a week. Louisa’s husband Gary has taken on this responsibility
- moving much more towards e-prescribing and Telehealth.
- recycling as much as they can, including paper cups rather than plastic ones for drinking water
- working towards a paperless workplace
- switching banks for their mortgage to one not investing in fossil fuels.
In the garden outside they have begun planting native plants as a carbon offset and more are due to be planted soon.
Several staff ride bikes to work instead of driving.
Thinking about the future, Louisa said that they have arranged to have an energy audit which will help them understand their carbon footprint in detail. In addition They plan to move away from gas and will invest in an energy saving split system for heating and cooling.
We wish them well as they move towards 100% clean energy.