UPDATED: With an ageing population, it’s good news that more of the major aged care providers are starting to take sustainability seriously, with Opal Aged Care rolling out LED lights and solar across multiple sites last year and Regis Aged Care now following suit.
The aged care provider is rolling out LED lighting and solar installations across 35 of the company’s 67 sites across Australia, which are in every jurisdiction apart from the ACT.
The program will be the company’s biggest capital investment in sustainability ever, according to Regis national sustainability manager Dr Kaushik Sridhar.
The investment will pay itself back in under four years by saving the company 20 per cent of its annual electricity consumption. This will amount to about 3700 tonnes of CO2-e in greenhouse gas emissions.
Planet Ark Power will provide the solar panels – more than 4400 capable of generating 1.6MWs electricity – in a run-of-the-mill solar fit out.
Dr Sridhar told The Fifth Estate that although the upgrades will save the business money and future proof homes against rising energy costs and regulations, the notion of “doing the right thing” was key to getting the business case across the line.
He said that businesses across Australia are starting to realise that sustainability isn’t going away.
This includes the likes of facilities managers and maintenance officers in each home, as well as those higher up the chain of command. He said the key has been identifying “champions” at the local level that get bigger picture and want to make a difference.
Dr Sridhar said the LED lighting will improve the aesthetic experience for residents, and result in less operational disruptions thanks to improved visibility
The road to sustainability for Regis
Dr Sridhar said that Regis is still at the beginning of its sustainability journey but catching on fast.
He joined the company 15 months ago – marking the creation of a dedicated sustainability portfolio – and as far as he is aware he’s the only person in a standalone sustainability role in a major Australian aged care outfit.
Starting with a blank slate to develop the company’s first sustainability strategy, the company has decided to focus on the environmental component of the triple bottom line.
This is because the company is the second largest provider of aged care and it can have a sizeable impact on GHG emissions.
Dr Sridhar said the company will do more to improve its social sustainability performance going forwards.
The LED and solar rollout will be completed by August 2019.