Regional Hospital Mullingar crowned winner of the OPW’s ‘The BIG Switch Off’ and is named as Energy Saving Champion

29 January 19

Six Hospitals around the country saved enough electricity to run nearly 90 standard Irish homes for a month during the OPW’s “BIG Switch Off” Campaign.

The Regional Hospital Mullingar was crowned winner of ‘The BIG Switch Off’ at an awards ceremony in Dublin having reduced their energy consumption by as much as 15% as part of the energy saving competition.  Six hospitals nationwide took part in the competition which was run by the Office of Public Works (OPW) in collaboration with the HSE’s National Health Sustainability Office (NHSO).

Regional Hospital Mullingar was named Energy Saving Champion for implementing an effective energy awareness campaign over the August and October bank holiday weekends.  The campaign aimed to empower hospital staff to take control of the energy consumed in their workplace and to embed energy saving habits.  The BIG Switch Off saw staff making an extra effort to switch off non – essential equipment in advance of the Bank Holiday weekends.

Initiatives undertaken by Regional Hospital Mullingar included a team of energy champions who led by example and tapped into their social networks within the hospital to recruit colleagues and other staff to commit to saving energy and contribute to the hospital wide energy saving effort.

Sligo University Hospital was named runner up in The Big Switch Off, while Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda came third overall in the competition.  Points were awarded based on the percentage of energy saved by hospitals, as well as being awarded for the number of engagement activities each hospital participated in.  Combined, the hospitals saved enough electricity to power an average operating theatre for 162 days.

The success of the Big Switch Off in each of the six hospitals who participated in the competition successfully demonstrated the cumulative impact that small individual actions can have.  By changing our behaviour and taking simple steps such as switching off our computers and printers as we leave the office; switching off lights in offices not in use, turning down the thermostat and ‘thinking before printing’, every individual can reduce their environmental impact and make a difference to climate change.

The BIG Switch Off is part of the OPW’s Optimising Power at Work Programme which is a staff energy awareness campaign run by the Office of Public Works (OPW).  In partnership with the HSE’s National Health Sustainability Office (NHSO) the campaign is currently active in fourteen hospitals across Ireland and nearly 300 other public buildings.

Congratulating the hospitals on their achievements, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief, said that “The ‘Big Switch Off’ is the latest initiative in the OPW’s successful energy efficiency campaign, Optimising Power @ Work.  The OPW has been working with the HSE for a number of years to expand the programme into the hospital sector.  We are delighted with the success of ‘The BIG Switch Off’ and the huge level of staff engagement in the participating hospitals.  I want to thank HSE’s National Health Sustainability Office and all of the six hospitals for taking part.”

Speaking about their win William Harding, Facilities and Safety Manager said: "We're delighted to be named the National winners of 'The BIG Switch Off' competition.  The success of this Big Switch Off energy saving campaign at this Hospital is down to the support of staff who engaged locally within their departments, and we were able to identify where we can make energy savings, not just for the August and October Bank Holiday Weekends 2018 but for all weekends going forward.  We also acknowledge the support of our HSE Estates partners who played a significant role in identifying energy saving projects enabling continuous improvements in energy and sustainability at Regional Hospital Mullingar."

For their win, Regional Hospital Mullingar were presented with a handmade, bespoke trophy which reflected the main goals of the campaign which were; team work, diversity, and the summation of small energy saving efforts to making a significant difference in energy conservation.

Jim Murphy from the HSE’s National Health Sustainability Office said, “We are delighted with the energy savings made by the hospitals participating in The BIG Switch Off competition. We believe initiatives like The BIG Switch Off are key in reaching our 2020 energy saving target.”