Washington Hospital Wins Environmental Conservation/Sustainability Award
Washington Hospital has received a 2012 "Partner for Change, with Distinction" award by Practice Greenhealth, in recognition of the hospital's ongoing sustainability and environmental conservation efforts.
"We are very proud to receive this important recognition of our continuing efforts to reduce environmental waste and improve energy efficiency within our system," said Washington Hospital Chief Executive Officer Nancy Farber. Practice Greenhealth added the "with distinction" citation after reviewing the hospital's significant achievements for this past year, Farber added.
"The award recognized the hospital's consistent, continuous and steady incremental improvement toward a true commitment to sustainability," she noted.
"Our employees have worked hard to reduce our energy use and medical and operational waste, improve our use of organic and sustainable food sources, and expand our community education outreach on this important issue," Farber said.
Practice Greenhealth is a national membership organization for health care facilities committed to environmentally responsible operations. The Partner for Change, with Distinction, Award is a very competitive award for health care facilities that make significant improvements in mercury elimination, waste reduction and source reduction improvements, beyond the Partner for Change base criteria, according to the organization.
The base criteria includes at least 20 percent recycling, 10 percent or less regulated medical waste, an extensive sustainability program and other programs covering food, energy, water, and chemical minimization. The honorees must also demonstrate leadership in the local community and/or the health care sector.
Sustainability and environmental conservation were established as an "area of focus" in 2007 by Washington Hospital. Kathy Fox, the hospital's sustainability coordinator, received the award on behalf of the hospital at ceremonies held in Denver, Colorado on May 2.
Paul Kelley, Washington Hospital's director of biomedical engineering and green initiative, said the hospital's sustainability team is committed to expanding its efforts throughout the district. Specifically, he said the hospital's new central utility plant will produce significant reductions in energy use.
Kelley cited some of Washington Hospital's sustainability initiatives:
- In energy efficiency, the new laundry, also part of the hospital's construction program, will have energy efficient washing machines where the final rinse water will be saved and used as the first wash water for the next load
- Fans have been equipped with variable speed drives rather than running continuously
- Florescent lights and reflective roofing materials have been installed in some hospital buildings
- Nutritional services are featuring healthier menus with, whenever possible, sustainable seafood and organic and locally sourced food
- The hospital has a small garden which supplies some vegetables and herbs to the kitchen and food waste is composted for the garden; composting has increased from 60 to 110 tons this past year
- The hospital's recycling rate is now at 26 percent and increasing
- The housekeeping department uses eco-friendly and water-friendly products throughout the system
- Faxes, printers and copy machines are being replaced with multi-function equipment which default to double-sided printing
- Employees are encouraged to email or scan whenever possible rather than using paper
- Paper made with recycled materials is used for copiers and printers
- Employee education and outreach efforts have been intensified
To learn more about Washington Hospital's Green Team initiatives, visit www.whhs.com/green.