The editors of Health Facilities Management (HFM) are proud to once again bring you our Sustainable Operations Survey, in which we examine how hospitals are performing in key areas of energy and waste management, water conservation and green cleaning.

Published in cooperation with the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) and the Association for the Healthcare Environment, this year’s study found that health care facilities continue to make great strides in sustainability overall, although many are not going as far as they could to achieve greater degrees of efficiency.

One of the most common starting points for sustainability — energy savings — is being tracked and reported by 69 percent of respondents. However, less activity is seen in waste stream reduction, water conservation and sustainable cleaning.

While barriers to deeper commitments cited by respondents include everything from competing investment/spending priorities to employee time limitations, respondents report relatively healthy levels of support from staff and management. Indeed, in data collected during the survey but not included in this month’s cover story, respondents report as only “minor challenges” or “no challenge at all” lack of senior management support (77 percent), lack of clinical staff engagement (77 percent) and lack of nonclinical staff engagement (82 percent).

The upshot appears to be that motivation for sustainable performance improvement often exists within the organization, even if the resources are lacking. This provides an opportunity for HFM’s readers to tip the scales toward sustainable projects, if they can make the case that the investment will ultimately bring greater returns.

Fortunately, data to support this argument isn’t hard to find. In this month’s story, for instance, ASHE president-elect Terry M. Scott, CHFM, CHSP, SASHE, of Memorial Hermann Northwest and Memorial Hermann Southwest hospitals in Houston, reports that eight of 10 of Memorial Hermann’s eligible hospitals saved more than $76 million in five years while earning the Energy Star label.

So, turn to page 19 to learn about these and other savings, then direct your attention to your own operations to determine how you can reach higher for sustainable savings.