10 ways hospitals achieve resiliency
The nonprofit organization, Practice Greenhealth, champions best practices for hospital environmental stewardship. On May 9th, it presented Circles of Excellence Awards to member healthcare organizations that excelled in specific categories of sustainability while achieving all-around sustainability.
At the 2018 event, these distinct facets of healthcare sustainability circles were recognized:
In the Chemicals Circle, member hospitals addressed toxicity through use reduction, solid purchasing practices, and by having the appropriate equipment. Honorees also provided hazardous chemical education to their staff and communities.
Climate Circle hospitals were honored for developing climate programs and for leadership in monitoring CO2 emissions. These hospitals also educated their staff and the community in the health impacts of climate change.
Member hospitals in the Energy Circle were likely to have Energy Managers and documented energy conservation programs. Using ENERGY STAR and energy use intensity metrics, these hospitals led other healthcare organizations in energy efficiency and reduced energy use over time.
Environmentally Preferable Purchasing
Environmental Preferable Purchasing Circle hospitals favored contract provisions and RFP policies similar to the Federal Government’s Environmental Preferable Purchasing Program. Those principles were reflected in the hospital’s Group Purchasing Organization and supplier interactions.
Hospitals honored as Green Building Circle members have incorporated green building standards to refurbishment projects as well as new construction. As a result, their facilities have saved energy and water, used safer materials, and integrated passive solar or other natural design elements. Many of their buildings have earned LEED or similar certifications within the past five years.
Greening the OR
Surgical department best practices in Solid Waste Management (SWM), reprocessing of single-use devices, and OR kit reformulation were among the several programs and metrics seen among Greening the OR Circle award recipients.
Among the food system policies and education programs at Healthy Food Circle hospitals were sustainable sourcing, food waste prevention, and smart beverage choices. These strategies and more were designed for a healthy people and a healthy planet.
Visionary leadership, effective communications, and data tracking were among the factors seen at Leadership Circle hospitals.
Hospitals recognized in the Less Waste Circle had mature, comprehensive programs that achieved high recycling rates and generated low regulated medical waste.
Water conservation programs and efficient water use is what distinguished hospitals within the Water Circle. Their success could be tracked in reduced gallons consumed per square foot and less water use over time.