Building more efficient, sustainable facilities

For over a decade, we’ve been evolving our infrastructure to keep pace with Canadians’ health-care needs while helping to protect the environment.

In 2005–2006, Canadian Blood Services launched the National Facilities Redevelopment Program with special funding from provincial and territorial governments. The first phase concentrated largely on Atlantic Canada and South-Central Ontario. The program’s second phase, now underway, is focused on our operations in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

There were several important changes to our nationwide infrastructure in 2017–2018, including the opening of a new blood donor centre in Calgary’s Eau Claire Market as part of our National Facilities Redevelopment Program, and another at Yonge and Bloor in downtown Toronto (the latter officially opened in May 2018). Two projects are particularly emblematic of our overall redevelopment strategy: a new testing facility in Brampton, just west of Toronto, and a new Western Canada operations hub now under construction in Calgary.

Brampton testing facility

In 2012, we consolidated production and distribution functions from our Toronto, Hamilton and London locations at a new 127,000-square-foot facility in Brampton. We’ve made further enhancements in the years since, and in March 2018 we completed the project with the opening of a global-standard testing laboratory. Fully integrated with our production and distribution operations, the new lab will test all blood and blood products for Central and Eastern Canada.

New Calgary facility

After a May 2017 groundbreaking event, construction began on our new Calgary operations centre. Expected to be fully operational by 2020, this advanced manufacturing facility will process about a quarter of the whole blood we collect nationally. It is designed to achieve the best possible levels of quality, service and productivity while meeting the highest global standards for employee safety and engagement. It’s also being built to the sustainability criteria of Gold-level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. The facility’s solar-panel array — the largest in the city — will meet up to 25 per cent of the building’s energy needs.

Managing environmental impact

The sustainable design of our new Calgary facility reflects our more intense focus on reducing and mitigating our impact on the environment. Here are a few highlights from the past two years:

  • After reducing our carbon emissions by six per cent in 2016–2017, we saw a slight increase in emissions this past year. Several factors contributed, including the impact of a colder winter on energy consumption in our buildings, which account for 69 per cent of our carbon footprint, as well as increased emissions from adjustments to product transportation needs. While our emissions were up slightly overall, we also saw that the impact of business-related travel was down by more than 14 per cent, and transportation of biomedical waste by 12 per cent.
  • While our electricity use was up slightly (0.37 per cent) year over year, several energy-saving initiatives are underway. For example, we’ve upgraded to LED lighting at several sites, cutting energy use while creating more comfortable work environments. We will continue to increase our use of LED lighting in the year ahead.
  • We introduced centralized waste collection at our Brampton, Vancouver and Edmonton facilities. Research shows that when employees are responsible for carrying garbage and recycling from their workstations to a central point, more waste is diverted from landfill. Like many green measures, it’s also more cost-effective.
  • After collecting organic food waste for many years at our Ottawa headquarters, we’ve now extended the practice to Brampton, Calgary and Vancouver, and we’re studying the feasibility at other locations.

These are just some of the areas on which we’re focusing on within a broader commitment to sustainability that informs all of our decision-making. Our work to reduce our environmental impact is also part of our continuous improvement efforts across Canadian Blood Services.