Impact report: 30+ years with Silentia screens at Central Hospital Växjö | Silentia

Impact report: 30+ years with Silentia screens at Central Hospital Växjö

Founded in 1989 by Dag and Örjan Göranson, Silentia’s vision was clear: to design a hygienic patient privacy alternative that emphasized functional design and longevity. More than 30 years later, Silentia has emerged as the leading solution for hygienic healthcare privacy, challenging the conventional use of textile curtains with the data to back it up.

In this blog, we will delve deeper into the comparative resource costs of screens versus curtains, and showcase actionable data that supports the early vision of our founders.

Using information collected from hospitals, lifecycle assessments, and digital product tracking, we will explore data at scale and reveal the substantial savings in financial and environmental resources that are realized with a Silentia privacy solution that has stood the test of time.

Origins of Silentia

In 1989, brothers Dag and Örjan Göranson resolved to address the “elephant in the room” that plagued hospitals around the world—privacy curtains—with what would become known as the Silentia Screen System.

At first, a Silentia privacy screen seems simple—a privacy barrier with hard and cleanable surfaces—however, it represents decades of uncompromising focus on quality, functional design, and the long-term perspective.

By designing products with components that can be repaired or upgraded, Silentia ensures that the screens adapt and endure even as equipment and technology evolve in the clinical environment. This commitment to quality and intelligent design has proven beneficial to customers worldwide for decades.

Evaluating resource efficiency

We’ve previously examined a key value for comparing curtains to screens, called the Total Cost of Ownership. This allowed us to better understand the economic upside of durable screens that are easy to clean.

Now, using curtain and laundering frequency data, provided by two Danish hospitals, we are able to expand on this comparison to include data on waste, electricity, and wastewater generation.

Data gathered from the hospitals show that an average disposable curtain weighs 2 kg (2.2 lbs.), and an average textile curtain weighs around 6 kg (13.2 lbs.). To assess the impact per laundering, we are using an lifecycle assessment (LCA) on industrial laundering from the European Textile Services Association (2000).

Using the data above, we can gauge the amount of resources our screens save per quarter compared to curtains. We can also evaluate the impact at scale if a hospital decides to do a complete replacement of all textile patient privacy.

Central Hospital Växjö

Central Hospital Växjö was one of the first customers to implement the Silentia screen system. In 1994, they expressed belief in the quality and benefits of the system and replaced textile curtains with 273 hard-surface folding screens. Each individual screen installed was equipped with a digital product passport, an ID that contains information about the location, age, and type of screen.

The passport helps us carry out preventative repairs or upgrades to avoid disposal and ensure the durability and longevity of the screens. Moreover, if the hospital or ward must be relocated, the passport helps us relocate the screens for continued usage. (Read the case story about how this feature helped save 1.6 tons of material at a new hospital in Gødstrup, Denmark.)

Last year, we had the chance to complete a walkthrough of the hospital to register and service all the privacy screens, relying on the product passport system to accurately track screen locations and record maintenance.

As we registered all the screens, we found many 20, 25, or even 30-year-old screens. These screens were still operational and did not have significant wear and tear.

The longevity and scale of the Silentia screen solution at Central Hospital Växjö made us wonder…

What if they had used textile curtains instead of privacy screens?

Using the resource costs referenced from the Danish hospitals, we can build a representative scenario to evaluate the resources Central Hospital Växjö has saved by choosing Silentia screens.

In our scenario, we will assume the curtains would have been laundered or exchanged once every quarter. (For simplification, we are not considering the curtain rails or the lifetime of the textile curtains, nor are we evaluating the labor, logistics, and transport required to dispose of or launder curtains.)

Comparing a 30-year-old Silentia screen and hospital curtains

Based on the data, when comparing the privacy options, we can estimate that a Silentia screen from 1994 would have eliminated 120 washes or disposals of curtains.

Therefore, one Silentia screen used over those 30 years would have eliminated either 13.068 liters (3,452 gal.) of wastewater and 3.630 kWh of energy consumption or 242 kg (533.5 lbs.) of disposed plastic.

1 Silentia screen:
Weight (average): 16 kg (13.3 lbs.) of material

Cleaned in-room for 30 years:
16 kg (13.3 lbs.) of material (avg.)

1 Textile curtain:
Weight: 6 kg (13.2 lbs.)
Wastewater, per wash: 18 L/kg (2.2 gal./lb.)
Energy, per wash: 18 MJ/kg (8.2 MJ/lb.)

Quarterly laundering for 30 years:
Wastewater: 13.068 liters (3,452 gal.)
Energy: 3.630 kWh

1 Disposable curtain:
Weight: 2 kg (4.4 lbs.)
Material: Polypropylene

Quarterly disposal for 30 years:
Plastic waste: 242 kg (533.5 lbs.)

A full-scale comparison

Equipped with the information from the product passports on the 273 screens at Central Hospital Växjö, which give us exact installation and lifetime data, we are able to make a full-scale comparison.

If disposable curtains had been installed instead of Silentia screens, they would have accumulated 22.317 tons of plastic waste. If textile curtains had been installed instead of Silentia screens, they would have generated 1.205.136 liters (318,363 gal.) of wastewater and used 334.760 kWh of energy.

By comparison, 273 Silentia screens weigh a combined total of 4,4 tons and are not considered waste, as they are reusable.

1.205.136 liters (318,363 gal.) of wastewater
334.760 kWh of energy

32.760 disposable curtains
22.317 tons of plastic waste

Future-proof privacy

Working with Central Hospital Vaxjo and hundreds of hospitals around the world to break from tradition sparks a sense of pride and purpose within Silentia. It gives us the courage to commit to crafting functional products as long-term solutions that can stand the test of time. To design for durability and resource savings, all while improving the hygiene and safety of patients and personnel.

As we look ahead, we will continue refining processes to ensure that current and future customers will benefit from the same quality and longevity that has distinguished the Silentia screen system for the past three decades.

If you would like to learn more about the data provided here or would like a resource comparison for your department, contact our team.

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