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Patient Centred Energy Mngmt

Profile: Surjit Heer, Mechanical Engineer at Holy Family Hospital, PHC.

As part of GreenCare's Earth Month series, we are thrilled to profile the work of health care staff and their contributions to healthier facilities, stronger communities and a healthier environment. 

Read our interview with Surjit, as we learn how his can-do, solution-focused attitude saves money for PHC, ensures patient comfort, and simultaneously seeks energy saving opportunities!


Q. Tell us about yourself and describe your role within health care.

My name is Surjit Heer and I work in PHC’s Holy Family Hospital as a Maintenance Engineer.

I started working at this facility about two years ago. Before this, I worked at Mount St. Joseph’s Hospital for about one and half years and before that at St. Vincent’s Hospital, Langara for about four and half years.

Before joining PHC I worked at Telus World of Science for 19 years as an operating engineer. The experience I got from that work has been invaluable in my work with PHC.

Q. As a Maintenance Engineer with PHC, what do you do? And what have you learnt in this role?

I do everything in relation to running the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, which means ensuring that the temperature of the hospital is comfortable for patients and staff, while also considering energy savings, and costs.

I make sure that I set all the heating and cooling systems to a comfortable level and make sure that I check with staff and residence living in this facility. By optimizing the controls and scheduling, I am able to set fans so that they run when the area is occupied and turn off when the area is empty. As a result of controlling the HVAC systems, I am able to save electricity and gas, which ultimately saves money on operational costs.

Sometimes this job involves a lot of running around, as I am the go-to guy in terms of fixing and keeping systems and equipment working. Luckily, I am part of the Vancouver soccer league, which means that I keep fit for the demands of this job!

Q. What support do you receive for energy management at PHC?

One thing I have learnt in this role is how to fix all sorts of equipment. I have acquired new skills that I am able to apply this to my work, which in the end saves us from having to hire external contractors.

I really appreciate Chris McPhee, Manger, Facilities Management at St. Paul's, who has encouraged me in this work. He has given me room to expand my skill set and trusts and encourages me in the work that I do. He has seen how we are able to save money when I am able to fix the equipment myself, as well as when I have been able to identify energy saving measures in throughout Holy Family. It’s also positive to work the Energy Managers at PHC. It is good to be in contact with them so that we can help each other to identify energy saving projects.

Q. April is Earth Month, with Earth Day on the 22nd. What does Earth Day mean to you?

The thing I am proud of in my work is that I am able to save a lot of gas, heat, emissions and pollutions. We are saving money, and we are also reducing pollution, which is good for the organization and really good for the whole world, and the environment.

As well, I feel really happy to respond to people. I do really want to make sure people are comfortable. When someone tells me that it’s too hot, or too cold, I want to fix it. If you have a problem let me know, I can find a solution.

A happy guy, makes a healthy guy. And there is a way to have a healthy building that is positive for residents and is energy efficient. This is not just in Earth Month, it is every month.