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Aga Khan University Hospital Abandons Diesel, Commissions Biomass Heating System

The Aga Khan University Hospital has commissioned a biomass boiler to power its heating system, abandoning diesel as the source of energy for the boiler.

The biomass facility will reduce the hospital’s annual consumption of diesel by 860,000 liters. The utilization of briquettes and other waste sources will result in substantial carbon emission reductions, with an estimated saving of more than 2000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.

These emissions, on a monthly basis, are equivalent to driving back and forth between Nairobi and Mombasa over 700 times in an average sized car.
The new boiler will generate steam for the hospital’s water heating, laundry, cooking, and sterilization services.

The Health care sector is carbon-intensive due to energy-intensive operations and extensive supply chains. Globally the sector is responsible for 5.2% of global emissions (Lancet, 2023). In other words, if the sector was a country, it would be the 6th largest emitter in the world.

For 65 years, Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi has set the standard for comprehensive healthcare and modern medical education in East Africa. Due to its dedicated staff, advanced facilities and state-of-the-art technologies the hospital has a great reputation as a leading medical institution and teaching hospital in the region, and beyond. In achieving its mission, the hospital is guided by Impact, Quality, Relevance and Access.

Speaking during the commissioning of the project, CEO Rashid Khalani said that given the devastating effects of climate change, “it is imperative that organisations consider the environmental impact of their operations and address the sources of emissions.”

“Primarily hospitals exist to nurture human health. However, we also know that climate change increases the risk of illness. It therefore goes without saying that healthcare institutions have a responsibility to nurture the well-being of the environment,” said Mr Khalani.

As part of the Aga Khan Development Network’s unwavering commitment to combat the negative impacts of climate change, organisations within the network have committed to achieve net zero emissions by 2030.

“Aga Khan University (AKU) and its hospitals have lined up several initiatives to meet this goal and this project is among them. As we continue to strive towards excellence in education, research and healthcare, we will also lead by example in reducing our environmental impact,” said AKU Vice Chancellor, Dr Sulaiman Shahabuddin.

Last year, the Hospital installed a 100KWp solar-powered plant that offsets grid power at the Doctor’s Plaza building. This has reduced an average of 96,000 kgs of carbon emissions yearly.

“All our new energy projects will be 100% renewable. All our new buildings are also constructed in line with green building guidelines that aim to reduce emissions and make savings in energy and water usage,” said Dr Shahabuddin, adding that the institution was in the advanced stages of rolling out similar environmentally conscious projects.

The Aga Khan University empowers the people of the developing world with the knowledge and skills to realize their highest goals providing a transformative education that prepares graduates for local and global leadership.

The institution generates solutions to problems that affect millions of people through pioneering research and strive to achieve world-class excellence, inspiring individuals and institutions to meet the highest standards.

Because everyone deserves the opportunity to fulfil their potential, the university serves the disadvantaged and works where the need is greatest. Together with partners, AKU builds bridges across borders and boundaries of all kinds, recognizing that humanity’s diversity is one of its greatest assets.

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