There are many reasons for going green. According to the Sustainable Operations Survey, health care organizations cite better public health, environmental stewardship and substantial cost savings that can be used to improve patient care as top reasons for going green.
And, as more and more health care organizations go the green route, it has become evident that there are many ways to get there.
St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, N.Y., earned recognition from the American Society for Healthcare Engineering for its cogeneration plant that was built to support a $220 million expansion. In its first year of operation, the plant produced 26 million kilowatts per hour, meeting 80 percent of its electrical needs and 95 percent of its steam consumption. The hospital estimates that the plant reduces annual utility costs by $1 million.
Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center’s effort to go green targeted its chiller plants. After upgrading its 12 chillers, the hospital reduced energy costs by $300,000 a year and decreased its carbon footprint by 7 million pounds in the first year. It’s also saving more than 1.4 million gallons of water.
Hospitals that are successful in their green initiatives tend to establish clear goals before launching into new projects. For instance, a group of Boston hospitals is tracking ahead of city and state greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. Massachusetts has mandated emissions cuts of 25 percent by 2020. Boston area hospitals are on track to reduce emissions by 33 percent by 2020.