Hospitals look after their patients, visitors, and staff in many ways. Providing charging stations for electric and hybrid vehicles is just one of those ways in which they take care of everyone. With the installation of the 12 Smappee charging points by Energieconcepten, the management of the HeiligHart hospital in Lier can rest assured that they also tick off that ‘care objective’. “We are working flat out on several initiatives to take us closer to our sustainability goals,” says Sylvie Vercammen, the hospital’s technical and facilities director.
The staff at HeiligHart hospitals live their motto – ‘Een hart voor zorg’ (A caring heart) – every day on every level. “In addition to medical care, we have been committed to sustainability for many years,” explains Sylvie Vercammen, HeiligHartziekenhuis Lier’s technical and facilities director. “We strongly support the Green Deal for healthcare which aims to make the entire sector more sustainable.”
The European Green Deal, broadly speaking, is a strategy that aims to make the EU a climate neutral continent by 2050. It impacts every aspect of business. The Flemish Vice-President Hilde Crevits and Energy Minister Zuhal Demir kicked off the Green Deal for healthcare in March 2023.
HeiligHart hospital Lier installed a combined heat and power generator in May 2019. “It paid for itself four times over in no time. That convinced us to switch from oil to gas in combination with a second cogenerator for the heating of the new wing that will open in September 2023. Of course, such efforts also have an economic rationale. Due to the energy crisis, we will spend no less than 2 million euros extra on gas and electricity this year. We therefore planned to install at least 200 solar panels on suitable roof surfaces in the very short term.
“We will most probably also install as many photovoltaic panels as possible on the roof of the new wing. The energy they will generate will be exclusively for self-consumption. Chances are it won’t be enough to provide in all our energy needs but it will be a giant step in the right direction.”
Value for money for hospital charging stations
When it comes to such large energy projects, the hospital works with the Vlaams Energiebedrijf (VEB), an independent agency incorporated into the government which acts as a central energy-purchasing body.
“They help to study and execute energy projects. With their help we will be able to manage our energy usage as much as possible. We also relied on their support when we changed all our lighting to LED.”
HeiligHartziekenhuis Lier also hired an external project coordinator for the installation of solar panels and charging stations.
“That person looked at the various options for renewable energy for us and suggested we go with Energieconcepten.” This installation company already has a lot of experience in this segment and offers an interesting value-for-money proposition.”
User-friendly solutions for clients
Energieconcepten is a pioneer in green energy. At their head office in Arendonk, the company translates clients’ sustainability needs into environmentally friendly solutions for heating, ventilation, home automation, solar panels and charging stations. “Since installing charging stations have become one of the key pillars of the business we have gained experience working with several EV charger brands,” says Lars Bleys, a technical sales representative. “Once we got to know Smappee and everything they offer, it was clear that we should adopt their solutions.”
There are several reasons for this decision. “Smappee’s charging stations are really easy to install, thanks to their manuals that are extremely easy to follow. What’s more, they offer a range of options for the end user, all of which are very user-friendly.
The built-in smartness ensures that the energy generated via solar panels is distributed evenly between, among other things, the CHPs and the charging stations.
Each charging station has a capacity of 22 kW, double the 11 kW of conventional charging stations. As a result, hybrid and electric vehicles that can accept 22 kW can be charged much faster.”
“The decision to install 22 kW charging stations puts us ahead, ready for future developments in this niche market.”Sylvie Vercammen, technical and facilities director at HeiligHartziekenhuis Lier
Public charging stations and tariffs
Energieconcepten installed 12 charging points at the hospital: eight in the staff parking area at the back and four for patients and visitors at the front of the hospital. “Because our managers, doctors and staff increasingly drive hybrid or electric vehicles, it made sense for them to be able to charge their cars during working hours,” explains Sylvie. “But we also wanted to offer the same service to those who don’t normally spend every day at the hospital. After a benchmarking exercise, we decided to use the same charging tariff for charging at our chargers than at public charging in parking areas elsewhere in the city.”
Because the Smappee charging stations were installed recently, the technical facilities team haven’t had much opportunity yet to work with the Smappee platform. “Even so, we knew it was the right decision after the first presentation. Billing public charging sessions and handling payments are very complicated and it’s easy to get lost in a financial maze. Smappee’s user-friendly management system will relieve us of all headaches. The decision to install 22 kW charging stations puts us ahead, ready for future developments in this niche market. The support we get from Energieconcepten and Smappee will definitely enable us to use our charging stations efficiently. If, in the long run, we see that we need more charging stations, we will be able to provide the necessary facilities for them.”
Smart future-focused energy management for HeiligHart hospital charging stations
It should be clear that HeiligHartziekenhuis Lier’s focus on green energy is not a passing fad. “We are currently undertaking a project that will allow us to manage our buildings’ energy consumption more efficiently. With the help of energy meters, we aim to map the entire 53 000 m² surface area that must be heated. Once we have the results for the different departments, we will be able to see which measures to prioritize,” says Sylvie.
Customer HeiligHartZiekenhuis Lier
As a regional acute care hospital, HeiligHartZiekenhuis Lier is committed to providing a full range of care while striving for excellence and innovation. It treats around 68 000 patients per year in its emergency, daycare, or longer-stay facilities. In addition to high-quality care, this hospital in Antwerp also strongly embodies the drive for a greener future.
To help their management, doctors, and staff as well as patients and visitors to charge their electric vehicles, the hospital installed 12 charging stations: eight for hospital staff and four for public use. Both inhabitants and visitors to Antwerp have access to these public charging stations.
The hospital’s management relied on Energieconcepten, a company in Arendonk, to install the charging stations. They also will be installing more than 200 solar panels on suitable roof surfaces in the immediate future. The solar energy the panels provide is optimally used to power the hospital, charging stations, and two combined heat and power generators. Energieconcepten resolutely opts for Smappee’s charging solutions because of the ease of installation, ease of use for end users, and the smart software enabling load balancing.
- Important upgrade to staff and visitors’ parking areas
- Extra revenue for the hospital from chargers used by the public
- An additional tool for efficient energy management
- Further compliance with the Green Deal Duurzame Zorg for the healthcare sector, which the hospital participates in
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