By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
Lakeridge Health Oshawa has added another niche to its energy efficiency with the official opening of an electric car charging station in the main parking garage.
The station accommodates two electric cars at a time, says Neil Clarke, director of engineering, infrastructure and security for Lakeridge Health Oshawa.
The parking spots are available not only for hospital staff and patients, but the general public as well.
The charging stations are free to use, but a parking pass must be purchased, Clarke says, adding there is a four-hour limit.
Clarke says the location of the charging station was due to its easy access for vehicles and proximity to pre-existing electrical equipment.
A barrier has been installed to protect charging cars from inclement weather such as rain and snow.
The charging station is part of a $17.7 million retrofit project at Lakeridge Health.
Clarke says other highlights include an installation of solar panels, replacing approximately 33,000 fluorescent tubes with LED lights and replacing boilers with more efficient models to reduce steam consumption.
These upgrades are estimated to cost Lakeridge Health $1.38 million annually over the next five years.
Charging stations may be in the future at the some Lakeridge’s other locations.
“We will monitor how it goes here. We’ve put aside some capital money,” Clarke says.
Manon Lemonde, a volunteer research associate, is often at Lakeridge Health’s site in Oshawa.
An owner of a fully-electric car, Lemonde says the charging station will be convenient for her when she has to make trips to other sites or out of town.
Other public charging station locations in Oshawa include two at the Oshawa Centre, as well as General Motor’s headquarters on Colonel Sam Drive, the General Motors Regional Engineering Centre and the campus of Durham College and UOIT.
According Charge Hub, a website that maps out locations of charging stations across North America, Oshawa is somewhat lagging behind other communities in Ontario.
In comparison, Charge Hub lists nine stations in Whitby and 11 stations in Peterborough.