The most recent studies estimate the extent of Haiti’s deforestation to be between 96 to 98 percent. Port-au-Prince is the largest city in the Western hemisphere without a central municipal wastewater and sewerage treatment facility, a reflection of the lack of sanitation infrastructure of the entire country. Electricité d’Haïti (EDH), the state-owned electrical company in Haiti, is characterized by dramatic shortages of service and provides intermittent access to electricity to only 12.5% of the population. Given these constraints and Partners In Health’s commitment to the environment and sustainability, the Mirebalais National Teaching Hospital was designed to minimize its impact on the environment and maximize our ability to harness natural resources.
The major features of the green technology plan include electricity conservation, water conservation and treatment, and sustainability initiatives. In order to maximize and exploit solar energy, 500 kilowatts of photovoltaic solar collectors will be mounted on the roof to provide power to the hospital, and solar powered streetlights will be installed to illuminate the campus at night. The power collected from these solar panels will generate enough electricity to power the entire hospital campus on all but the cloudiest days. Hot water will also be powered completely by solar energy. In order to lower the overall electrical load and increase sustainability, high efficiency light fixtures and ceiling fans will be in operation throughout the entire hospital. To reduce the need for air conditioning, PIH has implemented natural ventilation systems through high ceilings and windows and has equipped ORs with insulation, fans and filters.
Water conservation and waste management systems, virtually non-existent in Central Haiti, have been a major focus of our overall sustainability efforts. The hospital will be equipped with water saving toilets, faucets and showers; public drinking stations with self-closing spigots; and rainwater capture systems to preserve and provide clean water. Engineered by a team in Boston, a proper waste treatment system will be built that aerates and cleans wastewater and allows leftover sludge to be recycled at local farms. This sewerage system will protect against the spread of water-borne disease, such as the recent cholera epidemic caused by the runoff of untreated wastewater into the Artibonite River.
The hospital site was raised by over 10 feet to prevent flooding of the hospital campus. As a result, the edges of the property are characterized by steep grades of exposed soil. To prevent erosion, the construction team has employed a local Haitian team to design and implement an erosion control strategy. These local experts are planting Vetiver grass (a local plant) and bamboo to provide stability to the soil in addition to other soil conservation methods.
Several individuals and companies have been instrumental in the implementation of these green initiatives at the Mirebalais Hospital, including:
- • The Barr Foundation
- • Hubbell Incorporated
- • J.C. Cannistraro, LLC
- • Dr. Michael Siminovich, University of California Davis
- • Dr. Edward Nardell, Harvard School of Public Health
Partners In Health is grateful to these construction and design experts who provided their assistance in the strategy and implementation of these green technologies. It is our hope that the Mirebalais Hospital can serve as an example for future building projects in Haiti to adopt similar sustainable technology.