Aga Khan University Hospital Chief Executive Officer Rashid Khalani is joined by Engineer Dennis Mwangi as he inspects the recently commissioned Biomass Boiler. The Hospital has commissioned the biomass boiler to power its heating system, replacing diesel as the source of energy, as part of its environmental sustainability initiatives. PHOTO / JOY NASIMIYU


By Joy Nasimiyu

The Aga Khan University Hospital has

commissioned a biomass boiler to power

its heating system, abandoning diesel

as the source of energy for the boiler.

The biomass facility will reduce the

hospital’s annual consumption of diesel

by 860,000 liters. The utilization of

briquettes and other waste sources will

result in substantial carbon emission

reductions, with an estimated saving of

more than 2000 tonnes of carbon

dioxide equivalent per year. These

emissions, on a monthly basis, are

equivalent to driving back and forth

between Nairobi and Mombasa over 700

times in an average sized car.

The new boiler will generate steam for

the hospital’s water heating, laundry,

cooking, and sterilization services.

The Health care sector is carbon-

intensive due to energy-intensive

operations and extensive supply chains.

Globally the sector is responsible for

5.2% of global emissions (Lancet,

2023). In other words, if the sector

was a country, it would be the 6th

largest emitter in the world.

Speaking during the commissioning of

the project, CEO Rashid Khalani said

that given the devastating effects of

climate change, “it is imperative that

organisations consider the

environmental impact of their

operations and address the sources of


“Primarily hospitals exist to nurture

human health. However, we also know

that climate change increases the risk

of illness. It therefore goes without

saying that healthcare institutions

have a responsibility to nurture the

well-being of the environment,” said Mr


As part of the Aga Khan Development

Network’s unwavering commitment to

combat the negative impacts of climate

change, organisations within the

network have committed to achieve net

zero emissions by 2030.

“Aga Khan University (AKU) and its

hospitals have lined up several

initiatives to meet this goal and this

project is among them. As we continue

to strive towards excellence in

education, research and healthcare, we

will also lead by example in reducing

our environmental impact,” said AKU

Vice Chancellor, Dr Sulaiman


Last year, the Hospital installed a

100KWp solar-powered plant that offsets

grid power at the Doctor’s Plaza

building. This has reduced an average

of 96,000 kgs of carbon emissions


“All our new energy projects will be

100% renewable. All our new buildings

are also constructed in line with green

building guidelines that aim to reduce

emissions and make savings in energy

and water usage,” said Dr Shahabuddin,

adding that the institution was in the

advanced stages of rolling out similar

environmentally conscious projects.

The Aga Khan University empowers the

people of the developing world with the

knowledge and skills to realize their

highest goals. We provide a

transformative education that prepares

our graduates for local and global

leadership. We generate solutions to

problems that affect millions of people

through pioneering research. We strive

to achieve world-class excellence,

inspiring individuals and institutions

to meet the highest standards. Because

everyone deserves the opportunity to

fulfil their potential, we serve the

disadvantaged and work where the need

is greatest. Together with our

partners, AKU builds bridges across

borders and boundaries of all kinds,

recognizing that humanity’s diversity

is one of its greatest assets.

For 65 years, Aga Khan University

Hospital, Nairobi has set the standard

for comprehensive healthcare and modern

medical education in East Africa. Due

to its dedicated staff, advanced

facilities and state-of-the-art

technologies the hospital has a great

reputation as a leading medical

institution and teaching hospital in

the region, and beyond. In achieving

its mission, the hospital is guided by

the following core values: Impact,

Quality, Relevance and Access

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