26th June 2024

Mater Private Network shifts to renewable electricity sources to tackle environmental impact on health

Location: All

All electricity consumed at Dublin, Cork, and Limerick Mater Private Network facilities now comes from renewable sources as we place greater focus on our environmental impact.

Most of our locations around Ireland now receive electricity supply from a provider who generates power from renewable sources. This move comes as part of an overall effort to minimise the impact of our work on the environment and to reduce the effects of climate change on our population’s health.

A 2019 Department of Health research paper noted that climate change will have direct and indirect adverse effects on our health. Negative impacts of climate change on our air quality, water quality and food quality, for example, will contribute to more early deaths, increased respiratory infection, further spread of infectious disease and more undernutrition in the future. By making well informed, positive climate change choices, we can avoid these health issues and we can contribute to ‘health gains’, the paper also notes.

According to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), 36.4% of the electricity generated in Ireland in 2022 came from renewable sources. Ireland’s Climate Action Plan 2023 (CAP 23) includes a target to increase the share of electricity generated from renewable sources up to 80% by 2030. With our move to all renewable energy sources for electricity, we are playing our part in meeting this ambitious goal.

In 2023, our gas usage across our network also fell significantly compared to previous years. We used 19% less gas than we did in 2021. Our efforts to ensure our heating and boiler systems are more efficient contributed to this.

The use of sustainable materials for heat is also on the rise, with 6.3% of heat energy produced in Ireland coming from sustainable materials in 2022. We will continue to monitor this area and evaluate how these changes may be incorporated into our operations.

A detailed system was developed throughout the last year to improve how we recycle our waste. Appropriate waste segregation has been key to this system. None of our recyclable waste is now reaching landfill.

Reducing single use materials across our hospitals and care settings is an area which will be explored in more detail over the course of 2024. Although the nature of our work necessitates the use of some single use items, we plan to identify where improvements can be made in this space.

Liam Dunne, Group COO of Mater Private Network and member of our carbon reduction team, said: “As we operate in the healthcare sector, we are acutely aware that our impact on the environment will have a health impact for future generations. With this in mind, we worked throughout 2023 to lessen our carbon footprint by taking positive steps with our electricity and gas consumption and around our waste practices. There is more work for us to do in this space and we will continue our efforts throughout 2024 and beyond. It is encouraging to see that so many people who work within our organisation are keen for our environmental journey to continue. We are all doing our part by providing ideas for improvement or by making small changes within our own departments.”