The Climate Care Program may be new, but veterinary practices are already celebrating sustainability success.
We know our profession cares about doing its part to halt climate change and through the Climate Care Program, we aim to empower more vet teams to take the lead on environmental sustainability. Here are some inspiring stories of clinics – like yours – that are already taking steps to measure, reduce and offset their emissions. Together we can make a difference and help safeguard a healthy future for the animals we love and care for.
Sustainability Success – The Brimbank Vet Clinic Story
The team at Brimbank Vet Clinic have been working on improving sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint for a number of years. The first veterinary clinic in Australia to become certified carbon neutral on the Australian Government Climate Active Register, Brimbank Vet Clinic have also been collaborating with VfCA’s Climate Care Program to test and implement a number of recommendations across the program’s sustainability topic areas.
Brimbank Vet Clinic have maximised the number of solar panels on its roof space, giving them a surplus of cheap solar power. To take full advantage of this surplus power, the clinic has changed all of its gas appliances (hot water and clothes dryer) to new-generation electric alternatives and uses its reverse-cycle air-conditioners for both heating and cooling. They have also installed an electric vehicle fast charger, and fully charge 2 electric vehicles while at work which has given nearly 20,000km of travel in the last year! These small but important changes have resulted in a more than 30% reduction in their energy bills as well as zero emissions.
Being a Carbon Neutral Clinic is a bit of work. But it’s teamwork. And together I believe we are making a difference. Not only are we educating our staff, we are also educating our clients. Little by little, I hope we can chip away and make a difference while we can. We are thinking of our future; family and pets. I am proud of the clinic and our mission to help the world we live in”.Jo, Receptionist
In October 2020, the team at Brimbank Vet Clinic began testing out the recommendations from the Water for Life module in the Climate Care Program. They conducted a water assessment to find out how water is used in different parts of their clinic. They learnt the clinic was using 800L of water per day. By identifying ways to reduce water usage, they made simple upgrades to some equipment including changing 15 basin tap aerators from 9lt/min to 3lt/min, better maintenance of water tank filters and changing scrub sink behaviour. This coupled with a change in team behaviours has seen their water usage more than halved – now down to 370L per day! The financial saving they have made, by far exceed the investment costs.
Brimbank Vet Clinic’s carbon neutral status was one of the main things that really attracted me to the practice, and I feel so lucky and proud to be a part of it. With my mother and sister working in environmental management, sustainability has always been a key focus in my family, so it really resonated with me when I learnt about the practice’s approach. This clinic has taught me that it is possible to work hard for the health of our patients whilst protecting and promoting the health of our planet”.Scout, Associate Veterinarian
Brimbank Vet Clinic has also streamlined and simplified its cage bedding materials. The clinic now only uses second-hand, natural fibre towels and woollen blankets in 2 standard sizes only. As a result, they recycled 77kg of odd-sized, synthetic bedding materials and have created a lot more space in the clinic as well as reduced their laundry load! Now they only use cotton bath towels and woollen blankets (always ready donations from clients). Towels are used as cage bedding and blankets are used to cover patients under anaesthetic to keep them warm.
We look forward to hearing more about the positive outcomes of the changes that Brimbank Vet Clinic are making. Read more about the savings they have made from diverting waste.