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The New Standard at VGH

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VGH is on the path to becoming the first Canadian health-care facility to become ISO 50001 compliant

One of the biggest energy and environmental sustainability projects happening at Vancouver Coastal Health is one that most staff and patients won’t be able to see: The ISO 50001 Energy Management Systems Standard implementation at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH). The initiative was started in 2021, making VGH the first health facility in Canada to pursue ISO 50001 Energy Management System (EnMS) compliance.

Currently, hospitals and other health-care facilities are a major source of carbon emissions. Achieving ISO 50001 compliance is one way that VGH and other health facilities can change that fact. Implementing the ISO 50001 Energy Management Systems Standard offers VGH a systematic approach to improving energy performance. It is an internationally recognized standard that gives organizations a framework to manage energy and utilities.

Undertaking the ISO 50001 process will enable all stakeholders to better understand the energy flows on a complex health campus,”

says Kelly Lim, Energy Specialist for Vancouver Coastal Health.

ISO 50001 Energy Management Systems Standard

According to Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), “Canadian industrial companies that have implemented ISO 50001 have achieved an average cumulative energy performance improvement of nearly 10 percent within the first two years.”

Global ISO 50001 compliance would be equivalent to taking 215 million passenger vehicles off the road — saving more than $600 billion in energy costs, according to the Clean Energy Ministerial Energy Management Working Group.

Systems changes like these often go unnoticed because the work isn’t as tangible as waste reduction, active transportation, or a community garden, for example. However, the fact remains that it is vital work in the movement for planetary health, setting a new standard for sustainability in B.C. health care.