Cutting CO2 in kidney care: 102 heat exchangers fitted!

Ingeborg Steinbach's picture

In October 2011 The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare (CSH) secured funding at the Pitch Pledge Party event, a 10:10 initiative in partnership with The Funding Network (TFN) and Guardian, for the 'Cutting CO2 in Kidney Care ' project. The project was based on the case study from East Kent renal service, which has reduced its carbon footprint by retrofitting heat exchangers to their renal dialysis machines. Each heat exchanger is estimated to save approximately 0.366 tonnes CO2e per year.

The TFN funding in 2011-12 has enabled

  • Registration of all Green Nephrology contacts, including local representatives, on the online Green Nephrology Network, which enables them to receive news, share resources and participate in online discussion. (Network development was co-funded by the Renal Association.)  As a result, online membership has increased from 100 to 270.  
  • Highlighting of the carbon and financial benefits of retrofitting heat exchangers to dialysis machines (and thereby publicising activity of the Green Nephrology Network) to:
    • Sustainable healthcare general audience – via the CSH newsletter (circulation 1700) and the NHS Sustainable Development Unit e-bulletin (circulation 1200)
    • Green Nephrology Network (270)
  • Targeted approach (by telephone and email) of clinical contacts as well as renal technicians and Trust estates/energy managers for kidney units identified by the supplier as having machines lacking in heat exchangers (approximately 40 individuals across 8 renal services). Creating the connection between Renal and Estates Departments has had knock-on benefits, with several Trusts now exploring other carbon- and money-saving projects in the dialysis unit, such as water recycling.
  • 102 heat exchangers have been fitted across 4 renal services as a result of the project, saving an estimated 32 tonnes of CO2e per year. In addition at least one other renal service is actively exploring the business case for retrofits.
  • In Newcastle, heat exchangers were fitted to machines for 21 patients on home haemodialysis. This project was shortlisted for the Green Nephrology Awards 2012 and displayed in the Awards poster exhibition at the Green Nephrology Summit in September 2012, and is now included in the Green Nephrology case library at http://map.sustainablehealthcare.org.uk/newcastle-upon-tyne-hospitals-nhs-foundation-trust/retrofit-heat-exchangers-dialysis-machines http://map.sustainablehealthcare.org.uk/newcastle-upon-tyne-hospitals-nhs-foundation-trust/retrofit-heat-exchangers-dialysis-machines .

If you have any ideas or questions about retrofit of heat exchangers to dialysis machines, please join the Green Nephrology forum discussion here.

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