Sustainability delivers big savings for hospitals

Published November 2012
Health Facilities Management

Hospitals committed to sustainability increased their savings substantially in 2011 compared to the previous year, largely by expanding tried-and-true conservation actions that cut waste and use of resources.

The 2012 Sustainability Benchmark Report recently released by Practice Greenhealth, Reston, Va., shows that the 149 hospitals that qualified as the organization's 2012 Environmental Excellence Award winners saved a combined $55 million in 2011 by cutting waste in several operational areas.

That's a 22 percent increase compared with the $43 million in savings achieved by the 2011 award winners in 2010, says Lin Hill, director of awards, Practice Greenhealth. The three levels of award winners depend on their sustainability achievements.

The report includes data and analysis on hospital practices in many areas, including waste stream reduction, energy efficiency, green cleaning, water use and green building.

Laura Wenger, R.N., executive director, Practice Greenhealth, says the report shows that more hospitals are pursuing sustainability.

"As more research comes out and opportunities increase, more health care facilities are becoming aware of sustainability's benefits," she says.

Seema Wadhwa, director of the Healthier Hospitals Initiative, Reston, Va., and also director of sustainability for Inova Health System, Falls Church, Va., views the report as a sign that hospitals continue to see sustainability as a cost-saving opportunity.

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