Environmental Leader

August 20, 2012

by Jeff Benavides, Senior Project Manager, ecoPreserve

Sustainability efforts in manufacturing, higher education, governments and retail have been a long time focus and have made great strides. Although these efforts vary in scope and benefits depending on the industry, when it comes to healthcare and hospitals the advantages are especially clear. Simply put, what is good for the planet is good for the patient.Budget constraints and research linking environmental factors to human health has turned the spotlight on the healthcare industry’s role in reducing the environmental impact of their operations. To assess the benefits of sustainability in healthcare we can refer to the basic sustainability model People, Planet, and Profit.

…Did you know that healthcare is the second largest energy consuming industry in the US?  The first is fast food restaurants that also use equipment and mechanics 24/7. Not only is healthcare second largest, but the industry spends over $6 billion a year on energy. Effective management of this resource in a hospital and for a hospital system is highly favorable and critical step towards sustainable healthcare. The business case is clear especially when the Association for Energy Engineers mentions that 10 percent of energy savings can be realized purely from behavioral and process changes. Many healthcare organizations are not only looking at energy efficiency but human efficiency. There is a focus on getting patients in and out quickly, healthy and happy. The smoother the patient experience is, the more efficient staff is being utilized and resources are being consumed. Savings Tip: Implement changes in small pieces and show success with pilots and trials. Measure results then expand across the organization…

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