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Medical Company Reduces Carbon Footprint With $1M Solar Panel System

By Marie Jones | Thursday | 19/08/2010

Johnson & Johnson Medical Pty Ltd has spent more than $1million on a 200 kilowatt solar panel system installed on its roof at its Australian HQ in North Ryde.

The 952 panels, manufactured by Sanyo at its factories in Japan, are aimed at saving the company around 10 per cent of its electricity costs and have been funded entirely by Johnson & Johnson Medical, in what is claimed to be the largest commercially-funded solar panel project in Australia.

Click to enlarge
Bill Crichton, Managing Director of Sanyo, and Namal Nawana, Area VP ANZ for Johnson & Johnson Medical
Covering a surface area of 1,212 sq meters, the system produces enough energy to power 50 households per year, and will eliminate up to 240 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually for Johnson & Johnson Medical.

Chas Taylor, project manager for Energy Matters, the retail division of Apollo Energy which worked in conjunction with Sanyo on the landmark installation, said the panels were installed in two stages. The first part, comprising 100kW was installed and switched on in June, and has so far generated up to 1,5000kW hours of energy use for Johnson & Johnson Medical. 

The second part of the installation, comprising a further 100kW,  was switched on today by Maxine McKew, the Hon. Member for Bennelong, and the Hon Greg Combet AM MP, the Minister Assisting the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.

This is the first major initiative of a wider Johnson & Johnson Medical sustainability program called Project leaf: linking environment and future. The company is aiming to further increase energy savings by introducing sensor-driven efficient lighting, and replacing one of its chillers at its premises, which, together with the solar panels, is aimed at cutting its energy use by 20 per cent annually. 

Johnson & Johnson Medical Area Vice President Australia and New Zealand, Namal Nawana, said the investment was, however, not about the return: "As a company, we are looking for ways we can proactively make a positive contribution to our community and the environment.
"We are undertaking these initiatives because we believe they are the right thing to do and they form part of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies' global commitment to reducing our carbon footprint." said Nawana.

Speaking at the launch, Andy Ridley, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Earth Hour, which began in 2007 and called for individuals, communities, governments and businesses to be leaders in making a difference to climate change, praised Johnson & Johnson and said companies need to "change the conversation from what can't be done to what can be done". 

He said: "By installing the largest commercially-funded solar installation in Australia, Johnson & Johnson Medical is demonstrating the key leadership we need across business and industry for us to secure a sustainable future for the planet."

Nawana added that the company continues to review ways in which it reduces its carbon footprint. It has also launched a program with SITA-MediCollect, called Healthcare for the Environment, a resource recovery initiative that looks at reducing the amount of medical waste ending up in landfill each year, and is the first of its kind in Australia. 

The high-grade plastic and metal resources are collected, sterilised and separated for subsequent use in manufacturing other new products. Launched three months ago, the program is currently being piloted in three NSW hospitals and is said to have received positive support.  
"We are hoping to take this recovery initiative to other hospitals and would welcome the opportunity to work with government and health departments to roll this program out on a broader scale," said Nawana.

The company has also introduced more fuel-efficient cars to its fleet, and Nawana added that Johnson & Johnson would be planting 37 trees in a bid to offset the environment cost of the solar panel installation. 

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