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Ghana: Green R290 ACs for Hospital bring Unexpected Side Effects

24.01.2024 , News :

Ghana’s biggest hospital, Korle-Bu, was equipped with automatic voltage stabilizers and eco-friendly R290 (propane) air conditioners. However, a fire urged flexible actions.

Hospitals consume an enormous amount of power day in and day out. Making them more energy-efficient and helping them produce their own climate-friendly solar power brings costs down and energy security up. This is why GIZ’s "Sustainable Energy and Energy Efficiency for Climate Protection in Ghana" (SustainE4Climate) project is assisting Korle-Bu Hospital in Accra with energy-efficient appliances and a solar PV installation. Among other innovations, energy-efficient air conditioners with the natural refrigerant R290 were procured in cooperation with GIZ Proklima.

The interventions have already had a significant impact - albeit in a different way than originally planned. The first step of Korle-Bu’s energetic retrofitting was the installation of automatic voltage stabilizers in the main administration building. These devices are designed to ensure a reliable power supply and prevent fluctuations so that the energy-efficient ACs to be installed don’t get damaged. However, before the installations could begin, there was a fire in the hospital's data center, and the power supply was interrupted. "This meant that we, as a hospital, could no longer work reliably, and services had to be interrupted," said Dr. Opoku Ware Ampomah, Chief Executive Director of Korle-Bu. The consequences for patients and patients-in-waiting were enormous.

The GIZ team is shown the voltage stabilisers installed in the server room by hospital technicians.

Quick help was needed! The SustainE4Climate project reacted swiftly: In consultation with the hospital, the automatic voltage stabilizers were not installed in the administration building as planned but in the damaged server room. With this change, the servers could be rebooted immediately, and the hospital could resume working normally. However, the voltage stabilizers will only remain there temporarily. As soon as the damage has been repaired, they will be moved to the originally planned location.

What started as a properly planned energy efficiency intervention ended up as an emergency measure with a far bigger impact than the project ever planned. The price the project paid – the delay in installing the energy-efficient appliances – is small compared to the benefit of resuming operations as normal quickly for the entire hospital and its patients. 

The hospital management appreciates the support: "We are grateful to GIZ for responding so quickly and flexibly in this urgent situation," said Dr. Opoku Ware Ampomah. This is what a reliable partnership looks like.