Having a hospital go green is a challenge in itself. These medical facilities generate around 7,000 tons of toxic waste each year according to the last report issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, and the number is set to increase this year. The problem is a direct result of the power intake that many hospitals have as well as the levels of consumption of natural resources, mainly water and food.
While there are many projects out there where new technology could make a difference, most of them still need the financial muscle to become a reality. Hospitals, however, can embrace a different way to do things on their own to become more efficient in the use of energy and to lower their intake on resources. The following is a list of the things they can do to improve their capabilities and be more environment-friendly.
Make the Supply Chain of the Hospital Sustainable
This one takes a little effort on the hospital’s behalf. What the people tasked with the management of the supply chain of the hospital should do some heavy homework on all the vendors working for the institution to make sure that all the products bought to be used on-site don’t bring any negative consequences to the environment. Finding the balance between reasonable prices and quality can prove to be tricky, but it can be done. Buying supplies at specific volumes can bring savings in the long run.
Use Local Vendors for Food Products
Most hospitals out there have a cafeteria that handles the meals of the patients as well as the food consumed by people tending to their relatives on site. Many of these outlets make the mistake of buying food to vendors located on other states based on price. By switching to local vendors, the hospital will be doing a couple of things right: the first one is helping the environment by having local vehicles take shorter trips to deliver the food, thus reducing carbon emissions. The second one will be offering a helping hand to local talent offering fresh goods, thus helping the local economy.
Use Remodeling Projects to Improve the Landscape
At least one time a year most hospitals have the chance to undertake a project to change their landscape. This is an excellent opportunity to ask your contractors to follow some of the green protocols issued by the Federal Leadership of Energy and Environment Design to manage waste more efficiently. They can also reduce water consumption, or improve the use of energy. The number of options is endless, and some of them have gotten relatively cheap as more people have increased their use over the years.
Go for Chemical Safety
Hospitals generate thousands of pounds of chemical waste every single day. The ones derived from medical procedures are not as dangerous as the ones produced by everyday supplies tossed by the hospital. Remember that most of the hazardous materials must follow specific protocols to be disposed of properly, but regular sanitation services handle the rest of the elements. Make sure the institution follows the right protocols to get rid of LCDs, light bulbs, fluorescent lamps, and batteries. Remember that supplies such as mattresses, cushions, and pillows are lined with synthetic fabrics and fire retardant materials, so they should be disposed of by following specific protocols as well.
Make Sure to Change the Water Policy of the Hospital
While basic education can help a lot to create awareness in a hospital about ways to save water, these policies can only go so far. It is best to make a sound investment in water and assure it is used efficiently in the facility. Some hospitals have managed to reduce their water intake by 6 million gallons per year by replacing toilets, showers, faucets, dishwashers, and pumps with green-labeled alternatives.
Go for Improved Energy Consumption
Reducing energy consumption in a hospital also has a lot to do with investment in more efficient technologies rather than education. Some hospitals in America have reduced their energy consumption by 35% generating savings that can be measured at $300,000 by doing basic stuff like reprogramming the temperature plants and changing the type of light bulbs used in the facility. Very few hospitals go 100% green in this regard because they work 24/7 and they can’t run on solar panels alone. However, mixed alternatives can be worked to create a better future for all.