Capital Health's switch to natural gas brings savings to community

Friday, October 25, 2013 - 12:51pm

By Carrie Hildebrand

When Capital Health made the switch to natural gas, it helped set a trend for cleaner air and cost efficiency not only at our various sites, but throughout HRM as well.

Brian Lavers, manager of plant operations, oversaw the conversion to natural gas from heavy fuel oil at the Nova Scotia Hospital, the Halifax Infirmary and the VG Hospital, which was completed in 2012.

“We were a big incentive, as one of their largest customers, for Heritage Gas to get natural gas flowing across the peninsula. As a real bonus, that helped make it available to everyone in the area,” Lavers explained. 

Natural gas contains 30 per cent less carbon than heavy fuel oil, making it the cleanest burning fossil fuel and contributing to cleaner air quality.

“It’s clean, abundant, reliable, versatile and it’s easy to get to the market,” said Lavers. 

Capital Health has reduced sulfur dioxide emissions by 99 per cent and has enough known supply of natural gas to last more than 100 years.

“On average, natural gas costs 50 to 60 per cent less than heavy fuel oil. So while it cost $7-million to convert the plants, the payback took less than five years.”

Having been with Capital Health for 25 years, Lavers knows how important it is to find sources of significant savings while maintaining safe operations in his plants.

“Our job is to keep everyone comfortable. By using natural gas, we get to redirect our savings toward patient care while contributing to a cleaner environment in our communities.”