green reconstruction of Horenka hospital

Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) is working together with environmental organizations and local municipalities in Ukraine to rebuild the country sustainably.

After 11 months of the war, the damaged hospital near Kyiv was rebuilt in a sustainable and green way. With the initiative of Greenpeace and Ukrainian eco-NGOs Ecoaction, Ecoclub, and Victory of Ukraine fund, a heat pump, and solar power plant were installed to increase the building’s energy independence, the community’s resilience, and reduce the CO2 emission of the country. 

In Horenka village, explosions started on the morning of 24 February. This is how locals encounter what happened in the first days of the war. The air raid warning did not work, and people spent hours, and then days, in the basements of their houses. In the neighboring Hostomel, there was an attack on the military airfield and the landing of Russian troops. The russians failed to occupy Horenka, but more than a hundred local residents were killed by their attacks, and thousands were forced to flee their homes.

Local doctor Olena Opanasenko recalls that the hospital in Horenka continued working despite the full-scale war. “I, with another doctor, was at the hospital. We were trying to help people and do vaccinations. It was February 25 when the electricity of the hospital was turned off. And it wasn’t turned back until May”, the woman recalls. At that time, a shell hit the clinic's yard, windows blew off, and the facade was damaged. Due to the lack of electricity during the cold days, the heating system was damaged, making the hospital’s operation even more challenging as the winter approached. 

The hospital manager Ivan Rudy showed us the place where a shell hit the building and explained that the clinic employees removed part of the heating system on their own to be able to heat at least part of the premises. Then Greenpeace and Ukrainian organizations "Ecoaction," "Ecoclub," and the charity foundation "Victory of Ukraine" stepped in and initiated the installation of a heat pump in combination with a solar power plant in the hospital. As a result, since January 2023, the hospital has had a modern heating system with which the whole building can be used again for doctors’ appointments.

Greenpeace believes that the reconstruction of the Horenka hospital sets an example of how the reconstruction of Ukraine should take place. “When it comes to the long-term perspective, we must consider modern energy-efficient technologies that not only save money but also reduce the CO2 emissions and our negative impact on the environment. We do not want the recovery money allocated by the international partners for the reconstruction to be spent on inefficient old technologies that will continue to bury the country in energy dependence and increase CO2 emissions even further," said Denys Tsutsaiev, the campaigner of the project.

This project also demonstrates how much money can be saved if damaged facilities are restored in accordance with sustainable standards. According to preliminary estimates, the Horenka hospital will be able to reduce heating costs by 80%, and the hybrid solar station will be able to cover up to 60% of the energy consumed per year. 

Through the green reconstruction of Horenka hospital, Greenpeace was able to test and explore how the green reconstruction of similar facilities could take place. 

In this case, the most energy-efficient solution was to install a heat pump and a hybrid solar power plant. Today, a heat pump is one of the most modern and environmentally friendly means of space heating. In Horenka, an outdoor circuit was equipped in the backyard - vertical depth probes were lowered into prepared wells 65 meters deep. This is how the pump will take the energy from the ground to heat the hospital.

To ensure that the pump works even during power cuts, a hybrid solar power plant was installed in the outpatient clinic. The roof of the hospital was ideal for installing solar panels on it. Over time, this can be expanded to provide 100% of the electricity the hospital needs to make it energy-independent. Currently, the solar power plant will cover from 40% to 60% of the energy demand.

The clinic will keep the old gas system as a backup. However, environmental organizations are convinced that the future is in modern green technologies that enable communities to meet their own needs, reduce CO2 emissions and save money.

According to the local foundation “Victory of Ukraine,” more such facilities need reconstruction. Serhiy Regeda, director of the foundation, showed us the damaged infrastructure of the village and added that there is not enough money in the budget for reconstruction. Therefore, the aim of such a project is to attract more European cities to enter into partnerships with Ukrainian counterparts in the framework of green recovery. 

Greenpeace is ready to advise local communities on planning the ecological and green reconstruction projects of damaged facilities to support such partnerships. The cost of reconstructing the heating system in Horenka is about 56,000 euros, which will be fully returned in 6-7 years, thanks to the savings. 

"Our aim is to find partner cities in Europe that will be ready to help local Ukrainian communities in green reconstruction. To do this, we have prepared detailed calculations to help implement similar projects faster and will be ready to help municipalities to design sustainable projects. We must demonstrate that the use of green reconstruction is the best option for Ukraine as it moves the country towards the EU," Greenpeace added.

This small hospital in Horenka is one of the thousands that were destroyed in the war. Right after the cities were liberated, a lot of Ukrainians went back home and started rebuilding what was destroyed. People reconstruct their homes, schools, hospitals and build new infrastructure. The critical principles of such reconstruction should be “Build Back Better” with the latest green technologies - do not rebuild the old, outdated soviet system. How to do it? The Horenka hospital is an excellent example of what is possible to do right now instead of waiting until the war's end. This project and similar ones to come are all investments into our common European future that must be in green energy solutions. 

The project was initiated by Greenpeace CEE within the framework of the project "Partnership for Green Recovery of Ukraine" and is being implemented in cooperation with the NGO Ecoaction, NGO "Ecoclub," CF "Victory of Ukraine" with the assistance of the Hostomel Settlement Military Administration and the Hostomel Primary Health Care Center.