If your green enterprise doesn’t already have a foothold in healthcare, maybe now’s the time. For financial reasons, hospitals have put off spending year after year since the 1980s. As a result, many of their buildings are way out of date. Now hospital officials are under pressure to cut expenses wherever they can, and they are starting to see the potential for cost savings in energy management. They are also under closer scrutiny than ever before to reduce waste and pollution. In short, they can’t wait much longer. Hospitals have got to invest in green initiatives.
But going green is harder for hospitals than for other buildings. Because hospitals operate 24/7, with extensive use of technology, they consume more than twice the energy of comparable commercial buildings. Hospitals are also among the largest consumers of hazardous chemicals and producers of toxic waste. Moreover, they face formidable laws (e.g., for infection control) that complicate sustainability. Fortunately, the need to overcome these challenges is now widely acknowledged and there is a worldwide movement underway to help healthcare institutions protect the health of the environment.
For example, the U.S. Green Business Council now offers LEED certification specifically for new construction and major renovation of healthcare facilities. In many older hospital buildings, full LEED for Healthcare compliance is never going to happen, but these buildings are gradually being retrofitted anyway.
All this activity could spell opportunity for Big Apple Green members. Healthcare leaders need all the help they can get. Maybe what they need is you.
Gail Terry Grimes
NEXT TIME: Checklists to see where your enterprise might fit in to the greening of hospitals.