Here's how to cut our carbon footprint
Here are a few ways practices can cut their carbon footprint and save a few bob at the same time.
- Do more consultations by phone. Ask receptionists or sponsor them to take more phone messages.
- Transmit prescriptions direct to the pharmacy rather than have patients pick them up.
- Co-ordinate prescriptions so patients need only to pick them up at infrequent intervals.
- Combine home visits with vaccinations.
- Limit the need for rush-hour travel.
- Insulate premises - walls, roofspace, doorframes.
- Consider solar heating for hot water (payback time may be less than 10 years if inflation gets going).
- Ensure the heating is only on when it is needed.
- Ventilate rooms when heating is off.
- Encourage everyone to wear an extra layer and turn the heating down.
- Don't leave lights on in unoccupied rooms.
- Use dim lights in passageways, and keep them on temporarily.
- Ensure the last one out puts out the lights and switches off all computer terminals.
- Have a bike park at the practice premises and encourage people to use it.
- Do postgraduate education by distance learning rather than travelling to meetings. Organise skill-sharing co-education meetings locally.
- Ensure vaccines in fridges are easy to find. Keep a directory on the top of the fridge.
- If you have more than one vaccine fridge, don't keep several fridges part full and switched on.
- Share garden produce and encourage a more vegetarian diet.
- Heat no more water than is needed for hot drinks.
- But if there is spare hot water, keep it in a vacuum flask for next time.
- Make a note of electricity and gas consumption quarterly, and keep it on a graph on the noticeboard.
- Sponsor staff to keep gas and electricity consumption down.
Dream up a few suggestions of your own. Discuss this at your next practice meeting.
From Dr Alick Munro, Cranford, Middlesex