Going green at SPFT: How we are improving our environmental impact at the Trust
When treating mental health, we use many tools at the Trust to ensure we can deliver care as individual as our users. One of the biggest assets we have at SPFT is our location. As we are so close to our beautiful coastlines and countryside, we can use them to help our service users on their recovery journey. We have found that spending time in nature has helped with mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, along with bringing a sense of purpose from things like gardening. However, as the planet faces issues with climate change, spaces like this are becoming threatened. The climate emergency is a health emergency with direct and immediate consequences for our users, community, and Trust. That's why at Sussex Partnership, we have pledged to reach net zero on our carbon emissions by 2040. To help achieve this, we have been doing various things as part of our Green Plan.
Firstly, we have looked into more green alternatives to help power our sites. One of our main changes is installing solar panels on our Langley Green site. Since installing the panels in May 2021, we have found that they produce enough energy to meet up to 15% of the site's annual electricity, with very little maintenance required. Additionally, the panels have helped us save around £13,000 in electricity charges each year, allowing funds to be used across the Trust where they are needed most. But what about the inside of our sites? Firstly, we have invested in less carbon-intensive lighting across the Trust. Since starting our green plan, we have installed LED lighting across our sites. Using LEDs not only helps us have a lower carbon footprint and cost savings but also provides less harsh lighting helping to create a more comforting environment for users coming to us. We also want to manage our energy use across our locations. At our sites, we have installed automated meter reading tech, allowing us to monitor and manage energy consumption. Using this data, we can understand our energy demands and look at areas to improve. We have also begun rolling out our Trust's Building Management System, which allows us to monitor and adjust the heating and ventilation of our buildings remotely via the web.
Following on, we are also making it so that when we need to travel to see our users, we can do so environmentally. We are gradually replacing our vehicles with electric ones and beginning to work on installing charging points at our sites, with construction work of electric vehicle charging points underway at Swandean, Mill View Hospital, and The Hellingly Centre. Our aim at the Trust is to operate a fleet of fully electric vehicles by 2025.
At the Trust, we recognize how spending time in nature can help support the care we provide. Along with this, green spaces at our sites provide natural cooling of the air, support water management, and absorb carbon dioxide while helping to offset greenhouse gas emissions. That's why we are improving our green spaces by; planting over 80 trees at our Swandean office, creating a Wander Loop at Langley Green and a therapeutic garden at Mill View.
By delivering care in the ways mentioned above, along with many more, and supporting our staff, patients, carers and communities to live more sustainable lifestyles, we are enabling better health outcomes in our community.
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