Installation of a solar heater system for Chahhar public hospital in Qabr Chamoun

 Solar water heater system
UNDP Lebanon Solar water heater system for Chahhar public hospital in Qabr Chamoun

The energy sector in Lebanon is facing major challenges including the inability to meet increasing national energy demand. The CEDRO project, managed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), aims at complementing the national power sector reform strategy by targeting end-use energy conservation. As such, the objective of the project is to support greening of Lebanon’s recovery, reconstruction and reform activities through the implementation of energy efficient programs for public sector buildings and facilities. CEDRO is financed through the Lebanon Recovery Fund (LRF). Within this framework renewable energy systems have been and are being installed across various public sector buildings in the country.

One of CEDRO’s activities was the installation of a solar heater system for Chahhar public hospital in Qabr Chamoun, in cooperation with the Italian Development Cooperation, in order to establish a renewable energy system for the building.  The hospital offers general medical care in the region of Qabr Chamoun, located in Mount Lebanon, and is dedicated to patient care through diagnosis, treatment and training. Chahhar hospital holds an occupation of 70 beds across 4 floors.   

In order to install the solar water heater system, accurate studies of the building and its facilities, as well as the procurement of equipment were done with the support of the Italian Embassy. Quoting the Project Manager, “Funding was very limited for the implementation of the CEDRO- systems in Chahhar hospital, until financial help was given by the Italian Development Cooperation”. A Memorandum of Understanding was therefore signed between The UNDP and the Embassy of Italy in Beirut. An efficient shared implementation with close cooperation, cost sharing and expertise complementing between development agencies is not as common as could be imagined, and is therefore worth pointing out. The UNDP is always interested in enhancing development activities in Lebanon through efficient partnerships with international cooperation programs.

Highlights

  • One of CEDRO’s activities was the installation of a solar heater system for Chahhar public hospital in Qabr Chamoun, in cooperation with the Italian Development Cooperation.
  • Quoting the general manager of Chahhar Hospital, “Electricity and diesel fuel is by far the highest expense of the hospital.

Quoting the general manager of Chahhar Hospital, “Electricity and diesel fuel is by far the highest expense of the hospital. In order to reduce cost, we usually don’t turn on the hot water at all times and wait for complaints to do so. Even when we turn it on, it takes a long time to boil”.  This statement reflects an important problem in the hospital’s supply of energy and points out the motive behind UNDP’s involvement.

In July, one month after the completion of the solar water heater system, an evaluation was done in the field with the general manager of the hospital and the head of technical maintenance. The bills expressed lower diesel costs and more abundant hot water was noticed. The wait for the boiling time was also reduced. The construction of the system was done with the highest standards and with clear indications for use and maintenance of equipment. The head of technical maintenance expressed the enthusiasm of the hospital to maintain the solar heater system following the project’s closure.

The results of the project in Chahhar show how renewable energy, through solar panels, is a very efficient way to reduce costs while contributing to environment protection and sustainable energy production. However, many people don’t pay much attention to environmental problems because they don’t understand how the problem would affect them or their lifestyles. Implementing a source of renewable energy in a public building holds the potential to transfer knowledge about renewable energy among the hospital’s employees. As such, information can play a major role in changing attitudes. Although in a country like Lebanon, people might tend to focus on other basic priorities, environmental education is just as important in the developing world as it is in industrialized nations. Reaching out to people in those areas and convincing them of the benefits behind such projects can be very difficult. One means for energy-saving appliances to become popular is through targeted awareness. Hence, by showing people how much money could be saved with solar panels, CEDRO and the Italian Development Cooperation represent a great project to potentially involve people who normally wouldn’t have been interested in environmental problems.