Sustainability at Sycamore Health
We’re now a 2-star Ecobiz partner!
We take a holistic approach to health at Sycamore and that includes caring about the health of our planet.
As a small business, we knew we were using a fair amount of resources. Like many other workplaces, our building has lights, air conditioning, computers, a fridge and running water in the toilet and kitchenette. In addition to that, as a healthcare practice adhering to high standards of hygiene, we also regularly run the washing machine and dryer. And we purchase a lot of stock.
Once we started to think about it, we became quite uncomfortably aware that each day we were in business required a lot of energy consumption.In February 2020, we began working with Ecobiz, a free program funded by the Queensland Government, that equips small to medium businesses to reduce waste, improve efficiency and save money. When businesses make at least a 10% improvement in their water, waste or energy efficiency over 12 months, Ecobiz welcomes them as partners with a 1-star, 2-star or champion rating.
We registered for the Ecobiz program because we liked their supportive approach to helping businesses become more sustainable.
Their first step is to send out a mentor who helped us understand Sycamore’s carbon footprint. She visited our premises, examined our appliances, reviewed our recent power and water bills and made a series of suggestions on how we could become more eco-friendly.
Over the next 12 months, we implemented many of Ecobiz’s suggestions.
To reduce our energy consumption, we:
- Installed a 15-kW rooftop solar PV system
- Purchased a new, more energy-efficient washing machine, clothes dryer and refrigerator
- Replaced all our kitchen and bathroom faucets with water efficient alternatives
- Installed a more water-efficient, dual flush toilet
- Ensured our air conditioners:
○ Are set as close to ambient temperature as possible (within reason)
○ Are serviced regularly
○ Have their filters changed regularly to ensure efficient operation.
- Started turning off all TV, office equipment and lighting outside office hours to prevent unnecessary energy use
- Reviewed our stock purchasing to find more sustainable suppliers of consumables such as toilet paper and light globes.
Lots. It was really encouraging to see the impact of both big and small changes.
Yes, we had to spend some money on new appliances but it felt great to be making deliberate, planet-friendly choices that were in line with our values as a business.
After a year, we met up with Ecobiz again. They reviewed our energy bills over the past 12 months and we were chuffed to learn that we had reduced our energy intensity by nearly 30%!
That’s an impressive improvement in energy efficiency.
Adding to the good news, we were also spending less, having reduced our cost intensity by over 40!
Reducing water use proved more tricky. Thanks to COVID-19, we had to wash practice linen more frequently meaning our water use actually increased by nearly 4%. Given that, we were so pleased that we had installed a water-efficient toilet, washing machine and faucets. Without those steps, our water use would probably have increased far more than it did.
They said we had made ‘significant energy savings’, welcomed us into partnership, and awarded us a 2-star rating. We know that sounds low, but it is out of 3 stars! Waste management (the final star) is next on our agenda, and we will be addressing waste removal, recycling and composting with Body Corporate throughout the coming months.
Many of our patients are involved in small to medium businesses – if that’s you, we encourage you to register for an Ecobiz assessment of your workplace.
As for us, we’re going to continue improving our habits and looking for more ways to live and work sustainably.
All information is general in nature. Patients should consider their own personal circumstances and seek a second opinion.