LIFE SMART Hospital - A Step towards zero eMissions goAl in Heath SectoR: BesT Practice Examples in Hospital Universitario Río Hortega

LIFE13 ENV/ES/001019

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Contact details:

Contact person: Raquel Lopez
Tel: 34983143803
Fax: 34983546521
Email: external@cartif.es

Project description:


Hospitals and the health sector make a significant contribution to climate change through energy consumption and waste. For instance, in the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) estimates its carbon footprint at over 18 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, or 25% of the greenhouse gas emissions of theentire UK public sector. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the 73 billion kilowatt hours consumed annually by the American health system have a cost of $600 billion in the form of direct energy consumption and health externalities arising from pollutant emissions.


The main goal of the LIFE SMART Hospital project was to increase the resilience of hospitals to climate change by developing action plans dealing with energy, water and waste. The approach would be demonstrated at the Hospital Universitario Rio Hortega (HURH), in Valladolid (Spain). This large hospital has around 2 500 staff and is used by some 700 000 patients each year. To improve energy performance and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with the 2012 EU Energy Efficiency Directive, HURH would install high-efficiency incinerators, improve the performance of boilers and management of lighting, install LED lighting in emergency rooms, improve ventilation systems or install a heat recovery system in operating theatres, and carry out an energy audit to assess the impact of these measures. Water-saving measures in line with the objectives of the Water Framework Directive would include the installation of flow-control devices or dialysis water reuse, improvement to onsite wastewater treatment before discharge into public sewers and water bodies and a new system to control water consumption. A water audit at the hospital would be used to assess the impact of these measures. Measures carried out in alignment with the Waste Framework Directive and Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive would include better sorting, separation and collection of hospital waste, and systems for tracing waste, implemented through customised staff training. A waste audit would be carried out to find out how effective these measures had been. In addition, to these actions, LIFE SMART Hospital would also create a network of experts in sustainable management of hospitals.


LIFE SMART Hospital fully achieved its objectives. It has reduced greenhouse gas emissions at Hospital Universitario Rio Hortega and made it more resilient to climate change. The project's actions have also increased energy efficiency and improved water management and waste handling and traceability. Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report (see "Read more" section). The measures implemented led to a 4% annual reduction in thermal energy and a 42% saving in electric energy per year. This delivered an annual cost saving for the hospital of over 110 000, implying a payback time of less than 5 years. Greenhouse gas emissions were calculated to have been reduced from 6 811 to 5 660 tonnes of CO2eq, a 17% smaller carbon footprint. The hospital cut water consumption at the end of the project (2017) to 320 m3/day, nearly 30% lower than at its outset. Over 20% of water (94 m3/day) was reused, saving HURH some 46 000 per year. The payback time for the water-saving measures is just over 2 years. The new waste management measures led to a 43% reduction (by weight) in waste going to landfill and annual savings of around 125 000. The project team drafted a 'handbook of good practices on adaptation plans in hospitals for the mitigation of climate change'. This manual is aimed at all actors in the health sector, from hospitals managers to medical, nursing and support staff. The handbook is a key element for the replicability and transferability of the project. It is accompanied by an e-learning module that other hospitals, clinics and health centres can fill out to assess their own carbon footprint and energy, water and waste performance. The Ministry of Health of Castile and Len is disseminating the module to hospitals and health centres in the region. The hospital's maintenance department has taken over the running of the new measures, which have been integrated into the day-to-day life of the hospital. Results of surveys suggest that they have improved conditions for hospital staff and patients. The SMART hospital model is a reference for other hospitals. It can also be adapted to other buildings with similar characteristics. Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).


Environmental issues addressed:


Information - Governance - Awareness raising - Information
Energy - Efficiency
Energy - Savings
Energy - Supply
Environmental management - Integrated management
Environmental management - Life Cycle Assessment-Management
Services & Commerce - Healthcare - Social work
Waste - Waste reduction - Raw material saving
Water - Waste water treatment
Water - Water saving
Climate change Mitigation - Energy efficiency


waste reduction‚  environmental management‚  energy supply‚  hospital‚  environmental assessment‚  environmental impact of energy‚  water saving‚  energy saving

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Fundación CARTIF
Type of organisation Research institution
Description Fundación CARTIF is a research centre belonging to Valladolid University that carries out projects related to: industry, energy and environment, construction and infrastructures, agrofood and health.
Partners ITENE(Instituto tecnológico de embalaje, transporte y Logística (ITENE)), Spain HURH(Gerencia Regional de Salud de Castilla y León_Hospital Universitario Rio Hortega), Spain COINGES(Corporación Organizativa de Ingeniería Global Española (COINGES)), Spain


Project reference LIFE13 ENV/ES/001019
Duration 01-SEP-2014 to 30-NOV -2017
Total budget 1,794,999.00 €
EU contribution 756,838.00 €
Project location Castilla-León(España)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website
Project web site - 2 Project's Twitter account
Publication: After-LIFE Communication Plan After-LIFE Communication Plan
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Publication: Technical report Final technical report (Spanish version, with abst ...


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version