The precious resources on our planet must be respected and well managed. We know there are only so many natural resources in the world and as a diagnostic lab leader, it’s our role to help steward the use of these resources in the community lab sector to ensure healthy futures for all Canadians. From how we use water, to conserving energy, we are finding new and innovative ways to lead the charge on sustainable health care.

Protecting our Water Supply

Our diagnostic testing processes rely on clean water to ensure high quality testing results. Returning clean water to the sanitary sewer is an important part of our commitment to our communities and our environment.

We’re proud to be a leader in wastewater management within the laboratory sector. In partnership with our vendors, we have invested over $3 million since 2008 to develop an innovative system to treat waste-water containing sodium azide at 7 of our largest laboratory locations in Canada. Sodium azide is a preservation agent used in many lab tests. It is highly hazardous and, if not managed appropriately, can pose significant risks to employees, facilities and the environment.

Sustainability Image

The unique system we developed breaks down the sodium azide and removes contaminants from the water before it is returned to the sanitary sewer system. We are the first diagnostic testing lab in Canada to implement this sodium azide treatment system, demonstrating our commitment to environmental responsibility in healthcare.

Sustainability Image

Furthermore, we also have updated our pollution prevention strategy by creating individualized pollution prevention plans for all of our regional laboratory spaces. These plans cover all our lab instruments, chemical inputs, chemical outputs, and how each liquid wastewater is disposed of (collected, treated, or returned to city infrastructure). As the name indicates, these plans ensure that we keep Canada’s water free of pollution.

Each year we collect millions of litres of wastewater containing sodium azide (over 8 million litres to be more precise), filter it and treat it with ozone. The overall process destroys the sodium azide, and the end result is clean water that is safely returned to the ecosystem.
Elyse Dumanski, Director, Environment, Health, Safety, and Sustainability

Power Smart

What difference can a simple light bulb make? About 80% less energy actually! When you multiply that by 2,200 fixtures, that’s a lot of energy savings! Not only does that save energy, but it reduces the amount of pollution created and resources to make that energy, and it helps us minimize our environmental footprint.

Sustainability Image

We are working towards sustainability one bulb at a time. Over the last several years, LifeLabs has converted more than 2,200 fixtures to light-emitting diode (LED) technology in labs across Canada through its lighting efficiency upgrade program. These improvements significantly reduce carbon emissions, reduce waste, and save on energy costs.

This “LEDification” originally started in our four largest lab locations (100% LED) and it continues to be implemented in our 420+ sites nationally. In most cases, these new bulbs are 80% more efficient than fluorescent lights because they emit considerably less heat. LEDs also have the added benefit of lasting 20,000 hours more than fluorescent lights and contain no mercury.

Sustainability Image

When combined with having Building Automated Systems in our largest four labs, we are able to lower the waste of energy and improve the efficiency of operations in our facilities.

The added benefit of the LED lights is that they also provide higher-quality lighting with no ultraviolet emissions, which reduces potential eye strain. It’s amazing to think that the small action of replacing a lightbulb has such a major impact on our employees and the environment. Many of my colleagues are making the switch in their own homes. That’s the kind of broader impact that we were hoping for.
Kevin Patterson, National Director Real Estate and Facilities