SwitchMed Connect 2018 – Event Sustainability

The SwitchMed partners consider that sustainability criteria should be followed in the management of every event. The SwitchMed Connect team has made great efforts to ensure that the environmental impact is minimized. We hope that these sustainability efforts will offer participants the chance to feel, know and promote sustainability in the practice.


The Santa Creu i Sant Pau Hospital (“Sant Pau”) was designed by Catalan architect Lluís Domènech i Muntaner in the early 1900’s  as a “garden city” complex. The natural lighting, the good ventilation and the restrained elegance of the décor made the new Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau a unique place in the world, a pioneering model hospital which affirmed the importance of open space and sunlight in the treatment of patients.

sant pau sust

The restoration of the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site began in the autumn of 2009, when all of the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau’s healthcare activities moved to the new Hospital building.

The restoration was carried out in compliance with the Sant Pau Hospital Foundation’s Environmental Technical Specifications (ETS), which were designed to:

  • Achieve a considerable reduction in energy consumption as the result of:
    • Improvements in the insulation of the building’s facades, well beyond the requirements of the local building code and the Spanish law on eco-efficiency.
    • Elimination of thermal bridges
    • Installation of low-emission double glazed windows with air cavities and double glazed windows with different thicknesses to improve soundproofing.
    • Installation of interior and exterior solar protection systems.
    • Design and installation of high efficiency lighting (LEDs, etc.) and systems to encourage savings (presence sensors in discontinuously used spaces, regulation of artificial light according to daylight, centralized management and control system, etc.).
  • Prioritize the use of sustainable materials:
    • Natural materials for insulation
    • FSC-certified or eco-labelled materials and products that guarantee minimum environmental impact.
    • Natural water-based paints.
    • Chloride-free materials in pipes and ducts
  • Ensure water saving measures:
    • Rainwater collection from the roofs for use in landscaped areas.
    • Landscaping with indigenous plants able to thrive with very little watering.
    • Efficient watering systems in gardens.
    • Low consumption showers and dual flush toilets.
  • Establish high efficiency geothermal heating and cooling system:
    • Nearly 400 geothermal wells distributed throughout the outdoor area.
    • The geothermal system is highly efficient and uses radiant underfloor heating. The temperature of the heating and cooling machines varies according to outdoor temperatures.
  • Preserving the original heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) conduits:
    • The pavilions were equipped with an infrastructure of air conduits that originally served to heat and cool the spaces. The ETS established the priority of preserving this complex system of conduits and, as far as possible, restoring its original use and characteristics.
    • The specifications suggested a high-efficiency system with heat exchanger and free-cooling, which adapts its functioning according to the time of year, maximizing or controlling passive solar gain.


The application of sustainability criteria has served to minimize the environmental impact of the buildings both during the restoration process and subsequent use.

The entire Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site has been recognized with renowned sustainability certificates such as the “LEED Neighbourhood Certification” and the “Biosphere Responsible Tourism”.




  • One of the main environmental impacts from events come from the carbon emissions produced by international flights.
    • We encourage to book the shortest, most direct flights whenever possible, preferably in tourist class, as this has a reduced footprint.
    • Carbon emissions from travel to the event will be calculated and communicated.
    • We are studying how to compensate these emissions through a carbon offsetting programme.
  • Local transport also implies an impact for the environment. In the course of an event, participants are likely to undertake a number of trips from the airport and within the city. In order to minimise this impact:
    • We made sure that venue and accommodation are accessible by public transport.
    • Participants are lodged in hotels surrounding the venue, and we encourage mobility by foot or public transport.




Food and beverages served to a large number of participants can have an important impact in terms of emissions generated, waste produced and resources consumed.

We are striving to ensure that the catering services:

  • Source the food from local and environmental friendly producers. The products will be seasonal and organic whenever possible.
  • Don’t use plastic or disposable plates and cups, all materials will be reusable or biodegradable.
  • Avoid food waste. Exact numbers of participants for each day will be calculated and any organic waste produced will be transformed into compost and biogas.



There are many other actions that may seem small, but when multiplied by such a big number of participants, make a great difference in reducing the event’s environmental impact:

  • Adapt the size of the meeting rooms to real needs, reducing energy consumption.
  • Ensure the venue is equipped with reusable dry-mark erasable boards or blackboards instead of paper flip charts. Ensure “non-toxic” markers are used
  • Provide free Wi-Fi access and/or computers with internet access in the venue for better access to online documentation
  • Ensure the use of recycled / Eco-label / FSC – PEFC paper for all the printed materials provided to the participants, and the use of vegetal inks whenever possible.
  • Use reusable badges, made from recycled paper
  • Provide a dedicated area for participants to return material to be re-used or recycled (badges, documents…)
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