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Water and energy efficiency in healthcare

Interview with water and energy saving expert Mag. Klaus Pichler of Rabmer Greentech GmbH

Healthcare facilities typically consume large amounts of water and energy. Optimizing water and energy efficiency in healthcare is therefore not only good for the environment, but can also enable significant cost savings. At the same time, hygiene is a top priority to protect the health and well-being of patients and prevent the spread of infections. However, the aspect of patient comfort must not be neglected either, as well-being plays a crucial role in the healing process.

We asked Klaus Pichler, Head of Rabmer Greentech, how healthcare facilities can implement sustainable measures while ensuring hygiene and comfort:


How important is water and energy efficiency to healthcare facilities, and how does it affect overall performance and sustainability?

Businesses are under enormous cost pressure - rising personnel and operating costs are often offset by stagnating revenues in terms of budgets. Therefore, the pressure to use cost reduction potentials is increasing. Water and energy efficiency is one way to quickly implement a measure here and save costs, whereby it must be ensured that hygiene (keyword: germ and legionella formation in the piping) does not suffer as a result. As many practical examples show, this is certainly possible and naturally also has a positive effect on the sustainability of the operation, because on the one hand the important resource water is saved, and on the other hand it is usually also hot water and thus energy savings - which massively reduces theCO2 footprint.

Which specific areas or processes in healthcare facilities typically consume the most resources in terms of water and energy?

The biggest consumers of water are usually the showers, followed by the hand wash basins. In both cases, hot water and thus also a lot of energy is used. A special case are those facilities that offer patients therapies via baths or swimming pools; in this area, of course, a lot of hot water is used in particular. It is interesting to note that many studies and official statistics show that hot water consumes significantly more energy than, for example, lighting or kitchen appliances, IT, etc., and is therefore the number two energy consumer after heating. The savings potential here is correspondingly high.


The ecowaterjet has all the important hygiene certificates according to KTW and DVGW W270 and can be supplied with an integrated drain function for the shower head and shower hose - especially for healthcare facilities.

Can you name some best practices or technologies that help reduce water and energy use in hospitals and healthcare facilities?

For showers, we recommend the use of the ecowaterjet system. This is an economy fitting that can be used quickly and easily in existing and, of course, new showers, regardless of whether they are hand showers or overhead showers, and reduces water consumption to around 7 liters per minute without compromising showering comfort. This is a decisive difference to conventional economy shower heads, which always have to accept losses in water pressure in the course of water reduction and thus in most cases also only reduce water consumption to 9 liters per minute. Extremely important in this context, however, is a look at hygiene. The ecowaterjet has all the important hygiene certificates in accordance with KTW and DVGW W270 and can be supplied with an integrated drain function for the shower head and shower hose - especially for healthcare facilities. This is an additional measure against the formation of germs and legionella in showers. In addition, there is also an ecowaterjet water saver for washbasins. Frequent hand washing also consumes a lot of water. With the ecowaterjet aerator, water consumption for hand wash basins can be reduced to an economical 5 liters per minute.


What are the long-term financial benefits of investing in water and energy efficiency in healthcare, and how can these investments be justified?

Saving water & energy in showers is a quick win for businesses, because the achievable savings per year are a multiple of the investment required to achieve them. Using the ecowaterjet as an example, we continuously calculate the savings in terms of water, energy,CO2 and operating costs with our online savings calculator and see that in most cases the payback period is only 4 months, depending on the individual achievable savings and the prices paid for water, sewer fee and energy sources. From the point of view of cost optimization and sustainability, this measure is therefore a must and, in line with the strict hygiene regulations in healthcare facilities, is now also being implemented more and more frequently.


Water & energy conservation in showers is a quick win for businesses, as the savings that can be achieved per year are many times greater than the investment required to achieve them. 

Are there challenges or barriers to implementing water and energy efficiency measures in healthcare, and how can they be overcome?

The greatest challenge par excellence is compliance with strict hygiene regulations. The technologies used must therefore in any case have specific hygiene certificates, keyword KTW or DVGW W270, and it must be ensured that the reduction in water consumption does not lead to an increased risk of germ & legionella formation in the upstream pipelines. The appropriate adaptation of hot water rinse programs, the design of piping in new construction or the use of the already mentioned drain function for shower head and shower hose are examples of how to get this under control. These topics must be discussed during the implementation of measures and subsequently implemented accordingly. We are happy to provide support here with our experience from many projects.

For which health care facilities is the ecowaterjet system with the special emptying function a suitable option?

The special ecowaterjet "L" actively protects against germs in the shower hose and shower head.
After the showering process, the shower head is completely emptied or the shower hose is partially emptied by allowing the water to escape through the air hole in the ecowaterjet. This actively reduces the risk of biofilm or germs and legionella forming in the shower hose or shower head. The "L" series is used primarily by health care facilities, nursing homes, and hygiene-conscious businesses and individuals. The typical economy function combined with the preservation of the shower jet intensity remains of course in full!

Mag. Klaus Pichler

Mag. Klaus Pichler, Rabmer Greentech GmbH

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