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Green And Greener,Survey Shows Hospitals Embrace Environmentally Sustainable Practices, Though Room for Improvement Remains
Date:6/24/2010

lity reflect that. Building materials and the products used to clean and maintain them can all be significant sources of volatile organic compounds and other indoor air pollutants. Some of the greatest progress, the survey data showed, has come in energy cost savings. Nearly 70 percent of the respondents say they measure their energy savings and half conduct energy audits.

“Hospitals are seeing that energy efficiency is a good place to start,” says Clark Reed, director of the health care facilities division for the ENERGY STAR program. “The savings are tangible and they can then be used to increase further energy efficiency upgrades or fund other green initiatives going on at their hospital.”

Elsewhere, hospitals are making significant progress in reducing their waste streams diverted to landfills. The survey found that more than nine in 10 facilities are recycling cardboard, while 84 percent are recycling paper. More than two out of three respondents recycle beverage containers (67 percent) and more than half recycle plastic (58 percent) and metal (54 percent).

In terms of efforts that they plan to undertake within two years to reduce waste streams, the leading activities include implementing an ongoing process for tracking waste volume and cost for all waste streams—cited by 58 percent of the respondents—and conducting a waste management assessment for all materials and waste streams—cited by 56 percent of the respondents.

Water conservation strategies are moving at a more measured pace with 41 percent of the survey participants saying their facilities measure water savings. The most common water conservation initiatives used by respondents were flow control fixtures on faucets, such as motion sensors, and low-flow fixtures for toilets and urinals, both implemented by 55 percent in the last two years.

Hospitals are also working to measure the savings from environmental cleani
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