TRURO - The Colchester East Hants Health Centre is one of seven regional hospitals in the province that are being converted to natural gas as a way to both help the environment and save money.
"By burning natural gas, our hospitals will be using a cleaner source of energy that is better for the environment and creates savings that can be put directly into patient care, which is where Nova Scotians want to see their money invested," Minister of Health and Wellness Leo Glavine said, in a news release.
Planning for the conversion is to begin immediately. The total cost of the conversion for all the hospitals is pegged at $9.7 million with projected savings "in the millions" once all seven have been fully converted, the release said.
A department spokesman said the above figure includes the cost of design work and construction to the seven facilities. The cost for each location will vary depending on the age of the facility and the complexity of the work required with "considerable" cost savings expected over time.
The centres will not be totally reliant on natural gas, however, as converted hospitals will be able to switch between natural gas and furnace oil, whichever is most cost effective at any given time.
The other hospitals being converted to natural gas are: Yarmouth Regional, Valley Regional in Kentville, South Shore Regional in Bridgewater, Aberdeen Regional in New Glasgow, St. Martha's Regional in Antigonish, and Cape Breton Regional in Sydney.
Four Nova Scotia hospitals that currently use natural gas are: Cumberland Health Centre in Amherst, Dartmouth General, Halifax Infirmary, and the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax.