AKUH solar shuttle wins award

KARACHI: The CSR Brands of the Year Award 2013 has been won by Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, for its indigenously designed solar shuttle.

The Brands Foundation presents the awards, which each year shortlists over 1,000 popular and trusted brands in Pakistan from which a winner is selected for each category. This is the first time that AKUH has won this CSR award.

The solar vehicle is part of the University Hospital’s shuttle service fleet facilitating the movement of visitors and patients between the different service buildings. The 6-days-a-week service has been operational since late 2011, with the solar vehicle added to the fleet last year.

The idea of using a solar-powered vehicle was first tabled in 2012. “We had already designed and built golf-cart type shuttles using our own design. We now needed transport vehicles that were eco-friendly and reduced the use of fossil fuels,” recalls Mehdi Bawa, manager of AKUH’s transport department.

A solar-cum-electric shuttle, one of its kind in Pakistan, was developed with the assistance of a local firm, Water Security Company Pvt. Ltd., and commissioned in November 2013. A replica of the five petrol shuttles already plying across the campus, it saves the University Hospital 3,000 litres of petrol a year. If each litre of gas produces 2.5 kg of CO2, AKUH saves 7,500 kg of CO2 or 7.1 tonnes of green house gas emissions annually.

The shuttle is one more step towards reducing the impact of campus operations – and part of a commitment by the University Hospital and the Aga Khan University to operate in an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible manner.

As part of its ‘green’ plan, AKU has installed a highly sophisticated incinerator to safely dispose of its infectious waste while meeting European Union clean air emission standards; by-product heat from the incinerator is used to meet almost 50 per cent of the campus’ hot water needs. LED street lights which utilize only two to eight watts of electricity per light and last 10 times longer than regular lighting, have been installed across the site.

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