A project to replace 500 old air conditioners with ones equipped with inverter technology at Ho Chi Minh City-based 115 People's Hospital began on last week as part of a green-hospital model in Vietnam.

The project will also include installation of an energy management system with two control boxes and 10 ventilation systems.

According to a feasibility study by the Energy Conservation Centre of HCM City and Mitsubishi of Japan, the replacement will help the hospital save 498,715 kWh, or 741 million VND (35,000 USD) in savings. The new equipment would also help cut 310 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year.

The project is part of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Vietnam's Ministry of Industry and Trade and Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation on low-carbon growth passed by the two governments last year, in which a Joint Credit Mechanism would be developed.

The hospital will be the first in Vietnam to treat HCFC- R 22 refrigerants in the used air conditioners before they are discarded.

According to figures from the Energy Conservation Centre of HCM City, the rate of energy consumption for air conditioners accounts for 38 percent of total power consumption in each hospital.

As a grade-one general hospital under HCM City's Department of Health, the 115 People's Hospital has received and treated an average of 2,000 non-resident patients and 1,800-1,900 resident patients a day.

This has led to a significant increase in power costs for the hospital. In 2013, the hospital consumed over 8.6 million kWh and paid nearly 12 billion VND (571,000 USD) in electricity bills.

Besides the 115 People's Hospital in HCM City, the project will be implemented at Hanoi's Viet Duc Hospital, and is expected to save 830,261kWh or 1.2 billion VND (57,000 USD), helping to reduce 518 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.

Viet Duc Hospital's total electricity consumption in 2013 was over 5.8 million kWh, at a cost of nearly 8.4 billion VND (400,000 USD). A study for project implementation at the hospital will be carried out at the end of this month.

Most air conditioners used at the two hospitals are old and inefficient, and do not have inverter technology.

Other hospitals in HCM City, Hanoi and other cities nationwide will be scheduled to adopt the energy-efficient green-hospital model if the implementation at the two hospitals shows positive results.-VNA