50 of the Greenest Hospitals in America
Primum non nocere — the phrase is common among physicians, meaning "First, do no harm" in Latin. But as hospitals, physician groups and other healthcare organizations integrate their care, they have started to adopt that philosophy in a broader context.
Carbon emissions, medical waste, water consumption, unhealthy food, fossil fuels and climate change have become common vocabulary for many hospitals and health systems across the country because healthcare leaders are aware their organizations play a major role in the health of their surrounding population. Figures from the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Energy Information Administration show hospitals and other healthcare facilities are among the most energy-intensive structures in the country, cumulatively spending almost $8 billion per year on energy alone.
However, many forward-thinking organizations have put ecological health, green initiatives and environmental stewardship as foundational pieces of their mission — some for as long as two decades. The following 50 hospitals are among the greenest healthcare organizations in the country. They lead by example through mass-scale and local carbon-cutting efforts, and they also demonstrate how environmental sustainability is everyone's responsibility.
To develop this list, the Becker's Hospital Review team conducted research and analyzed sustainability information from sources such as Health Care Without Harm, Practice Greenhealth, Healthier Hospitals Initiative, the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, the EPA and other healthcare sustainability organizations and experts.
Note: Only acute-care hospitals open on or before Jan. 1, 2013, were considered. This list is not an endorsement of included hospitals or associated healthcare providers. The following content should be used for informational purposes only. Hospitals cannot pay to be included on this list and are presented in alphabetical order.
Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital (Downers Grove, Ill.). Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, part of Downers Grove-based Advocate Health Care, has consistently been a leader in environmental sustainability for the past decade. A Practice Greenhealth Environmental Leadership Circle member, Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital recycles more than 25 percent of its total waste, has established pollution prevention programs and is a top hospital for eliminating mercury within its supplies. In 2010, the 333-bed hospital also constructed a new white roof out of recycled materials to reflect heat, which has decreased the hospital's heating and cooling demands.
Anne Arundel Medical Center (Annapolis, Md.). In April 2011, Anne Arundel Medical Center opened its new patient tower, which received LEED Gold certification, the only acute-care hospital in Maryland to do so. The USGBC highlighted the hospital for its innovative waste reduction, energy conservation, water savings and recycled steel beams and columns, among other environmental features. Anne Arundel Medical Center also received the Maryland Trailblazer Award in 2010 from Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment for its commitment to pollution prevention, sustainable healthcare practices and general environmental leadership in its community.
Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak (Mich.). The 1,070-bed Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak is the flagship tertiary facility of Beaumont Health System. Recently named a "Michigan Green Leader" by the Detroit Free Press and one of the "101 Best and Brightest Sustainable Companies" by Corp! magazine, Beaumont has become a leader in sustainability efforts while saving money. For example, in 2012, it took on 55 different energy projects, which saved $2.1 million that year, and it changed its supply chain to obtain greener supplies. Beaumont's efforts are led through its green team, which includes 225 sustainability leaders and officers who devise cost-effective solutions to reduce waste and conserve energy. Beaumont has also created "kaizen" teams, which are employee-led groups that meet monthly to find ways to reduce energy and water consumption.
Borgess Medical Center (Kalamazoo, Mich.). Sustainability is rooted in the history of the 422-bed Borgess Medical Center, flagship of Borgess Health and part of St. Louis-based Ascension Health. In 1889, the Sisters of St. Joseph reused a mansion to house patients, creating Kalamazoo's first hospital in the process. Today, Borgess Medical Center is a leader in recycling, reduced energy use and environmentally friendly elements, including a healing garden that produces several different types of local produce. In April 2012, Borgess Medical Center stepped up its efforts to encourage new forms of local transportation, becoming the first hospital in Michigan to offer electric vehicle charging stations.
Boulder (Colo.) Community Foothills Hospital. Opened in September 2003, the 60-bed Boulder Community Foothills Hospital set the bar for green hospitals, as it was the first hospital in the United States to earn the USGBC's LEED certification. The hospital has consistently received awards and accolades from local and federal government organizations, including an award from the Colorado Environmental Leadership Program. Boulder Community Foothills Hospital has been a pioneer in recycling across the country. It also was one of the first organizations in Boulder to issue employees bus passes for the county's eco-friendly transit system.
Bronson Methodist Hospital (Kalamazoo, Mich.). Bronson Methodist Hospital's environmentally friendly strategies were ahead of the curve in the mid-1990s. The hospital focused on four key areas — pollution prevention, energy conservation, green building design and sustainable food sourcing — and it made significant headway in each. The current Bronson Methodist Hospital was built in 2000, and a few years later, it also built Bronson Advanced Radiology Services, the first LEED-certified healthcare facility in Kalamazoo. Bronson Methodist Hospital was the first Michigan hospital to sign the Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge and implement a Styrofoam recycling program, both occurring in 2008.
Cleveland Clinic. In December 2011, Cleveland Clinic President and CEO Toby Cosgrove, MD, announced the renowned academic medical center and health system would be a leader in green practices and reduce energy use by 20 percent by 2020. Cleveland Clinic is advancing toward those goals thus far, and it has also focused heavily on waste management and recycling. Cleveland Clinic's green initiatives blossomed in 2007, when it created its own Office for a Healthy Environment, which focuses on the organization's impact on the regional environment and climate change at large. In 2008, Cleveland Clinic also became the first U.S. healthcare provider to sign the United Nations Global Compact, which encourages businesses to align their strategies with socially and environmentally responsible principles.
Community Hospital South (Indianapolis). Community Hospital South, part of Indianapolis-based Community Health Network, is the only LEED Gold-certified hospital in Indiana. The hospital, built in 2010, included several green elements its design, including LED lighting and recycled furniture upholstery. Community Hospital South has also invested in xeriscaping, which is a type of landscaping that minimizes water usage. The 150-bed hospital was the first in Indianapolis and one of the first in the state to pilot employee uniforms made out of recycled plastic bottles.
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (Lebanon, N.H.). James Varnum, former president of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, instilled a sustainability mentality at the hospital during his tenure. In 1999, he said: "Hospitals across the country each day work hard at improving health in their communities, yet they generate 2 million tons of waste a year, some of it very toxic. If we pollute our neighborhoods with poor waste-management practices, we contribute to the very health problems we're committed to curing." Since then, Dartmouth-Hitchcock has been an environmental leader, earning awards from the EPA, Practice Greenhealth and other environmental agencies. In 2009, the hospital also began calculating its ecological footprint — by products, energy, food, waste, transportation, water and built land — to pinpoint the best ways to improve.
Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas (Austin). In the early 2000s, Dell Children's Medical Center's parent company, Austin-based Seton Family of Hospitals, wanted to create a "world-class children's hospital." After working with several architectural firms and sustainability experts, Seton opened the 170-bed Dell Children's in June 2007, which became the first LEED Platinum hospital in the world. Natural sunlight hits 80 percent of the available space in the hospital, and a natural gas-based turbine produces 100 percent of its electricity, heating and cooling. Dell Children's saves enough power to fuel roughly 1,800 homes annually.
Eastar East Campus (Muskogee, Okla.). The 45-bed Eastar East Campus, formerly Muskogee Community Hospital, opened in 2009. It was one of the first few hospitals in the world to attain LEED Gold certification, and it was the first hospital in the United States to earn the EPA's Energy Star for "superior energy performance." Eastar East Campus, part of Eastar Health System in Muskogee, employs several green measures, including a geothermal system to heat and cool the facility, workspaces that maximize daylight, native plants and safer CPVC piping. The EPA said the hospital's lower energy usage cuts carbon emissions by 24 percent every year, making it "a leading hospital in the fight against climate change."
Fairview Southdale Hospital (Edina, Minn.). Fairview Southdale Hospital, licensed for 390 beds, is one of the many green hospitals within Minneapolis-based Fairview Health Services. Fairview Southdale Hospital has won several awards from Practice Greenhealth, Environmental Initiative, Xcel Energy and even the governor's office. The hospital follows Fairview's six main targets of environmental responsibility: reducing energy usage by 15 percent by 2015, diverting half of solid waste by 2015, purchasing environmentally preferable products when possible, building all new facilities with LEED in mind, developing sustainable food policies and reducing toxic and hazardous waste.
Fletcher Allen Medical Center (Burlington, Vt.). Fletcher Allen Medical Center, Vermont's only academic medical center, is more than just an environmental leader in New England — it is becoming a bastion for healthcare sustainability across the country. In 2010, its radiation oncology facility was awarded LEED Gold certification, and between 2008 and 2013, it saved more than 5.8 million kilowatt hours of electricity through energy conservation efforts. Central to Fletcher Allen's greening initiatives, which are led by a green team and a management-level "sustainability council," is sustainable food. Fletcher Allen was one of the first organizations in the country to sign Health Care Without Harm's Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge, and it launched the first Healthy Food in Health Care Roundtable, which brought together regional hospital leaders to find ways to serve sustainable, nutritious food to patients and the entire community.
Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center (La Crosse, Wis.). Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center is the 325-bed flagship of Gundersen Health System. By 2014, Gundersen plans to become 100 percent energy independent, meaning it will produce all the energy it needs. It plans to achieve its goal through its environmental program, Envision, which has also been used by other Midwestern hospitals and health systems. Envision aims to meet the 100 percent energy independent threshold through energy conservation, renewable energy outlets, building design, waste management, recycling and sustainable foods. Gundersen's renewable energy efforts include local wind turbines and diverted methane from a county landfill. In July 2013, the White House named Gundersen CEO Jeff Thompson, MD, a "Champion of Change" for public health and environmental protection advocacy.
Harborview Medical Center (Seattle). Part of Seattle-based University of Washington Medicine, the 413-bed Harborview Medical Center has become one of the greenest academic medical centers across the United States. Practice Greenhealth designated Harborview a top environmental leader this year, and the Washington State Recycling Association named Harborview the 2012 "Recycler of the Year" for a medical facility. The hospital has also taken steps to incorporate composting into its day-to-day routine — all dining ware in its cafeteria and 90 percent of dining ware in inpatient areas are compostable and biodegradable. In 2012, Harborview held its first sustainability presentation on ways healthcare sustainability is influenced through research and a multidisciplinary perspective.
Inova Fairfax Hospital (Falls Church, Va.). Inova Fairfax Hospital, the 833-bed flagship of Inova Health System, has been one of the most active providers in the environmental sustainability scene for more than two decades. In 1992, Inova and its subsidiaries hosted a conference to describe healthcare's effects on the environment, and in 1995, it participated in the EPA's Green Lights program. Inova Fairfax and the entire system have been most active in the mid-to-late 2000s, when they created green teams, partnered with more governmental and nonprofit organizations to control waste, water and energy usage, and founded an environmental oversight committee. The system also does something few other providers do — it has published an annual sustainability report every year since 2010. Last year, Inova CEO Knox Singleton was one of two active healthcare CEOs to meet with the White House Council on Environmental Quality to discuss how hospitals can reduce their carbon footprint.
Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital (Hollywood, Fla.). The 204-bed Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital is a freestanding facility and part of Hollywood, Fla.-based Memorial Healthcare System. In 2012, Joe DiMaggio Children's became one of the first children's hospitals in the country to earn LEED Gold certification. In addition to standard green features like recycled building supplies and low volatile organic compound materials, the hospital has incorporated a green strategy around the community and its employees. Easy access to public transportation, on-site bike racks and showers, and a green education program for staff, patients and visitors are all part of Joe DiMaggio Children's efforts.
Johnston Memorial Hospital (Abingdon, Va.). The new Johnston Memorial Hospital opened in July 2011, earning LEED Gold certification in the process. The 116-bed hospital includes many standard green items, including a landscaping system that uses 50 percent less water than other traditional landscape designs in its area. Johnston Memorial, part of Johnson City, Tenn.-based Mountain States Health Alliance, also practices intensive recycling programs, has high-efficiency plumbing fixtures that save more than 1.5 million gallons of water per year and has roughly two dozen parking spaces for low-emission vehicles — an effort the hospital says will hopefully encourage employees and patients to drive fuel-efficient cars.
Kaiser Permanente Roseville (Calif.) Medical Center. Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente has made environmental sustainability a systemwide initiative, and Kaiser's 340-bed Roseville Medical Center epitomizes the organization's progress. Kaiser Permanente Roseville Medical Center has a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30 percent by 2020. To achieve that goal, the hospital has taken several steps, including the adoption of a cogeneration power plant and upgraded exterior lighting. Kaiser Permanente Roseville Medical Center has also set goals to reduce water consumption by more than 15 million gallons every year, reprocess several tons of devices from operating rooms and increase its spending on sustainable food to 18 percent of its food budget by 2015.
Kiowa County Memorial Hospital (Greensburg, Kan.). In May 2007, an EF5 tornado — the strongest category of tornados, with winds greater than 200 miles per hour — flattened the city of Greensburg. Kiowa County Memorial Hospital was destroyed in that 2007 storm, but hospital officials decided to come back with an invigorated vision. The new Kiowa County Memorial Hospital, a 15-bed critical access hospital, opened almost three years later in March 2010. In 2011, it became nationally recognized as one of the greenest hospitals in the country, earning LEED Platinum certification. Kiowa County Memorial Hospital is completely electric, and two wind turbines are stationed on the hospital's campus to supply energy.
Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC (Pittsburgh). Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, part of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, has been an environmental advocate since 2005, when it first provided environmental education for new parents and newborns. Its green team, led by hospital staff, sets goals and measures to ensure greening initiatives come to fruition. Accomplishments at Magee-Womens include reductions in red bag biohazardous waste, a project to boost recycling to 25 percent and the use of plastic materials in the neonatal intensive care unit that are DEHP- and PVC-free. The Magee Women's Research Institute has also received funding from The Heinz Endowments and the Johnson Family Foundation to conduct environmental health research and find out how the environment impacts women's and infants' health.
Martha's Vineyard Hospital (Oak Bluffs, Mass.). Martha's Vineyard Hospital is a 25-bed critical access hospital located on the island of Martha's Vineyard. In 2011, the facility received LEED Gold certification — the only acute-care facility in Massachusetts to achieve that high of a certification. MVH, an affiliate of Boston-based Partners HealthCare, incorporated many green features into its design, such as bio-retention areas for water runoff, computer-monitored energy performance and 200 energy-producing solar panels. MVH also actively promotes the Planetree model of care, which centers on patient-centered elements like natural light and healing gardens.
McLaren Northern Michigan (Petoskey). For five consecutive years, the 202-bed McLaren Northern Michigan has been named to Practice Greenhealth's Environmental Leadership Circle, the highest honor Practice Greenhealth awards every year. McLaren Northern Michigan has committed to a mercury-free healthcare environment, recycles 25 percent of its total waste stream and is a leader in its local community for pollution prevention programs. McLaren Northern Michigan's environmental sustainability team spearheads many of the organization's green efforts, such as an unused medication recycling program.
Medical Center of the Rockies (Loveland, Colo.). In 2009, two years after opening, the 166-bed Medical Center of the Rockies became the second hospital in the country to earn LEED Gold certification. On average, Medical Center of the Rockies uses 35 percent less energy than other similarly sized hospitals. Architects also emphasized natural lighting, advanced heating and cooling systems and water conservation features at the hospital, which is part of University of Colorado Health based in Fort Collins. Officials at Medical Center of the Rockies said the initial investment in sustainable features represented roughly 3 percent of the $158 million construction cost, but it already recouped those costs within five years.
Metro Health Hospital (Wyoming, Mich.). Green practices have been a mainstay at the 208-bed, LEED-certified Metro Health Hospital for more than a decade. In 2000, the hospital's board of directors outlined "integrating green development strategies" as one of the hospital's primary principles. Since then, the hospital has aggressively pursued that goal. For example, Metro Health Hospital cut its water use by 43,000 gallons and decreased chemical use by 90 percent after it converted to a microfiber mop system. It also established widespread recycling programs and has a 48,500-square-foot green roof to minimize storm water runoff and cool the building. Consequently, Metro Health Hospital was the first hospital in Michigan to be recognized as a "Clean Corporate Citizen" by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
MetroWest Medical Center (Framingham, Mass). Sustainability practices at MetroWest Medical Center, an organization with two hospital campuses and part of Nashville, Tenn.-based Vanguard Health Systems, revolve around its Go Green Committee. Amy Collins, MD, an emergency medicine physician at MetroWest, founded MetroWest's Go Green Committee in 2007, and she also serves as a healthcare sustainability consultant for Vanguard and is a steering committee member for the Healthier Hospitals Initiative. Some of the medical center's main achievements include widespread composting, systemwide recycling efforts, improved medical waste practices and healthier food and nutrition options for patients and the community.
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital (New York City). NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is currently the largest, single hospital in the New York metropolitan region, and the organization knows that comes with a certain carbon shadow. Under the hospital's sustainability program, NYPgreen, NewYork-Presbyterian recognizes "the intrinsic relationship between sustainable practices and ecological health," and it consequently aims to adopt environmentally responsible practices through the leadership of a sustainability council. Some of the hospital's primary initiatives are waste minimization through metal, plastic and paper recycling, ecologically safe disposal of hazardous bio-waste, farmers markets and a hybrid vehicle project. NewYork-Presbyterian has received several awards from the EPA's Energy Star program as well as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's PlaNYC Hospital Carbon Challenge, which aims to reduce hospital greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2018.
North Shore University Hospital (Manhasset, N.Y.). North Shore University Hospital is an 806-bed teaching hub within Manhasset-based North Shore-LIJ Health System. On the hospital's third floor rests The Katz Women's Hospital — a LEED Platinum facility. In July, The Katz Women's Hospital's post-partum unit, on North Shore University Hospital's fourth floor, also earned LEED Platinum certification from the USGBC. North Shore University Hospital has become an archetype for North Shore-LIJ's "sustainability and social responsibility" mission, which it adopted in 2010. Under that mission, North Shore-LIJ partnered with the EPA to establish far-reaching, environmentally responsible programs and business practices at its facilities. North Shore-LIJ's mission centers around greener building operations, healthier food options, community engagement and building sustainability support among employees.
Palomar Medical Center (Escondido, Calif.). The 11-story, 288-bed Palomar Medical Center — part of Palomar Health, one of the largest public hospital districts in California — opened in August 2012 after roughly eight years of planning around evidence-based sustainable design. Courtyards, natural light, a 1.5-acre green roof, permeating LED lights and sustainable materials are all features of the new hospital. Palomar's sustainability department is currently in the process of educating other hospital professionals on how to build and operate similar "hospitals of the future" and how engaging employees helped make Palomar's plans a reality.
Providence Newberg (Ore.) Medical Center. When the 40-bed Providence Newberg Medical Center opened in June 2006, it became the new "gold" standard for every green hospital to come thereafter. Providence Newberg, part of Renton, Wash.-based Providence Health & Services, was the first hospital in the nation to earn LEED Gold certification. It also was the first hospital to run completely on renewable energy, including a local clean wind program, which reduced carbon dioxide emissions by the equivalent of 273 cars. The hospital's energy efficiency receives the most acclaim, but Providence Newberg also became a blueprint for hospitals wanting to utilize natural sunlight orientation, sustainable water practices and local/organic construction supplies.
Ridgeview Medical Center (Waconia, Minn.). For the past seven years, Ridgeview Medical Center has been named to Practice Greenhealth's Environmental Leadership Circle — an accomplishment no other hospital in Minnesota has attained. The 109-bed, independent hospital was a pioneer in the healthcare environmental field, as it adopted a sustainability pledge in 2001 to improve public health. Pollution prevention has been at the heart of Ridgeview's goals, as it won a Governor's Award in 2003 for regulating red bag waste, concentrating cleaners and applying other pollution prevention strategies to improve the safety and health of its community. Ridgeview also improved its water efficiency by 21 percent over the past several years through water flow control devices and other water conservation practices.
Rockingham Memorial Hospital (Harrisonburg, Va.). The new Rockingham Memorial Hospital, a 238-bed community hospital within RMH Healthcare and Norfolk, Va.-based Sentara Healthcare, opened in June 2010. It became the first LEED Gold facility in Virginia that same year. Rockingham Memorial Hospital's green features include reuse of a sustainable site, water efficient appliances and plants, and high indoor environmental air quality. The hospital also uses methane gas, a byproduct of its county's landfill, as one energy source for its boilers. It received nearly $600,000 in grant funding from Virginia to do so. Rockingham Memorial Hospital, the only Virginia hospital to receive a 2011 Leadership Award for Sustainability Excellence from VHA, creates enough energy to go off the electric grid during peak hours in the summer.
Rush University Medical Center (Chicago). On Jan. 9, 2012, Rush University Medical Center opened its 14-story hospital in the Near West Side of Chicago, becoming one of the greenest hospitals in the city. Rush's 304-bed hospital incorporated several unique, sustainable designs — including patient care floors that improved workflow, recycled steel and concrete, passive solar light and environmentally friendly housekeeping and landscaping — earning LEED Gold certification. Rush also has green rooftops to capture water and reduce temperatures inside the main building naturally. Rush President and COO Peter Butler said the organization "made a commitment to sustainability because in the long run it is good for our patients, our employees and the entire community."
Sacred Heart Hospital (Eau Claire, Wis.). In a 2012 interview with Becker's Hospital Review, Sacred Heart Hospital President and CEO Julie Manas said of the hospital's environmental goals: "This has been a staff-driven initiative from the start. It's something that has been ingrained in who we are for many years, and it speaks well for our Franciscan background that we are good stewards of the resources we've been given." In fiscal year 2012, Sacred Heart recycled 40 percent of its waste and decreased water usage by 1.2 million gallons. The hospital, part of Springfield, Ill.-based Hospital Sisters Health System, also reduced its fossil fuel use by 5 percent through other energy savings and alternative energy initiatives.
Sinai Hospital (Baltimore). Sinai Hospital is the 502-bed teaching hospital of LifeBridge Health. Sinai Hospital has been at the forefront of LifeBridge's "Freedom to Be Green Initiative." Electric car charging stations, cafeteria food composting, widespread recycling programs and adoption of LED lights in hallways are some of the hospital's undertakings. One of Sinai Hospital's leading initiatives is greening the operating room, where it has recycled an average of 675 pounds of blue wrap every month since September 2008. Over the past several years, Sinai Hospital has received an EPA Trailblazer Award, a Baltimore Business Journal Green Policy Award and several other acknowledgements from Practice Greenhealth.
Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital (Grand Rapids, Mich.). Over the past several years, sustainability programs and efforts have flourished across Spectrum Health, particularly within its Blodgett Hospital. For example, the 284-bed Blodgett currently recycles confidential paper, has a single-stream recycling program and implemented vast energy savings measures within its operating rooms. In addition, 10 tons of food are composted at Blodgett every month, and the hospital has set up programs to make it easier for employees to ride a shuttle or obtain free passes for the city's transit system. By next year, Blodgett and Spectrum as a whole have a goal of creating a "nationally recognized sustainability model for regional healthcare."
St. Francis Hospital Downtown (Greenville, S.C.). The 245-bed St. Francis Hospital Downtown is considered one of the greenest facilities within the Marriottsville, Md.-based Bon Secours Health System. Last year, it nabbed the highest honors, the Environmental Leadership Circle, from Practice Greenhealth. St. Francis also is a preeminent follower of Bon Secours' community commitment to green initiatives. According to its website, St. Francis' environmental pledge includes an efficient recycling program, a commitment to Energy Star guidelines, the elimination of mercury and environmentally preferred purchasing.
St. Joseph Hospital (Nashua, N.H.). St. Joseph Hospital and its parent system, Covenant Health Systems in Tewksbury, Mass., have outlined today's environmental issues as a guiding principle within their organizations: "We practice responsible stewardship of the resources entrusted to us and create healthy environments for our employees and the people we serve." The 208-bed St. Joseph has adhered to that philosophy by partnering with a medical waste company for reusable sharps containers — a move the hospital said diverted almost 14,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. St. Joseph also holds annual Earth Day awareness events and incents departments with an annual recycling award.
St. Joseph's Medical Center (Stockton, Calif.). St. Joseph's Medical Center is a 359-bed community hospital and part of San Francisco-based Dignity Health. St. Joseph's, and all other Dignity Health hospitals have put environmental stewardship at the forefront of their strategic missions. In 2012, the Healthier Hospitals Initiative highlighted St. Joseph's water conservation and green initiative through its laundry program. The hospital currently uses 220,000 reusable isolation gowns and 231,000 incontinent pads every year, which has drastically reduced the hospital's footprint and local landfill usage. St. Joseph's is also one of many Dignity Health hospitals that has been essentially mercury-free since 2001. The hospital is part of the California Climate Action Registry, which voluntarily measures and reports all greenhouse gas emissions.
St. Mary's Hospital & Regional Medical Center (Grand Junction, Colo.). When St. Mary's Hospital & Regional Medical Center finished its major construction project in 2010, it became one of the tallest, and greenest, hospitals between Denver and Salt Lake City. St. Mary's Hospital added a 12-story, earthquake-proof patient bed tower, and according to architectural firm Perkins + Will, the new inpatient environment was oriented to make the most of day-lighting and the landscapes. St. Mary's Hospital, part of Denver-based Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, attained LEED Silver certification for the project. Hospital officials recycled a vast majority of construction waste, and those conservation efforts have carried over into the hospital's daily operational routines.
Swedish Medical Center – Issaquah (Wash.). Swedish Medical Center – Issaquah opened in November 2011 after the greater Issaquah-Sammamish community decided it needed its own hospital. According to the Healthier Hospitals Initiative, Swedish/Issaquah is one of the top-performing hospitals in the United States for energy performance. The 175-bed Swedish/Issaquah installed a heat-recovery chiller to capture the heat generated by cooling devices, built green roofs and made targeted energy usage goals with Puget Sound Energy, the local electricity and gas utility company. Swedish/Issaquah also implemented several green projects — for example, within its construction, it used more than two miles of recycled planks that previously were high school bleachers. The hospital, designed to use 40 percent less energy per square foot than a normal facility of its size, expects to recoup all energy efficient investments by the end of the decade.
UCSF Medical Center (San Francisco). This past April, UCSF Medical Center published its first sustainability report, something few other hospitals and health systems do, but it represents UCSF's budding green strategies. UCSF Medical Center creates its sustainability goals through the university's LivingGreen program. Within this program, and as cited in its report, UCSF Medical Center saved $2.2 million last year through reprocessing medical devices, reducing medical waste, purchasing reusable pillows and obtaining rebates of energy-saving upgrades. The medical center saves roughly $250,000 per year, on average, through greening efforts in its operating rooms. UCSF Medical Center, an active member and signatory in several healthcare sustainability initiatives and groups, also composts 90 percent of food waste.
University Hospitals Case Medical Center (Cleveland). University Hospitals is one of the greenest healthcare organizations in the country, as it and several of its affiliate hospitals received 11 environmental excellence awards from Practice Greenhealth in 2013. UH Case Medical Center, the 1,032-bed tertiary flagship of UH, received both the Partner Recognition and Making Medicine Mercury Free awards from Practice Greenhealth. The hospital also follows the central tenets of UH's environmental commitment — a 12-point plan that outlines how it will become a leader in sustainable healthcare while fulfilling its mission. Some of the points include incorporating environmental considerations into all new building construction and renovations, minimizing waste through proactive recycling and composting programs, purchasing environmentally preferable supplies and providing healthy, sustainably produced food.
University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro (N.J.). The $447 million, 338-bed University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro opened as a new facility in May 2012, and it has become a model for sustainable design and environmental practices. Solar panels in the employee parking lot produce enough energy to power 30 homes per year, and its entire energy strategy is centered on removing energy from the power grid during high-cost, peak-demand hours. UMCPP also features the proper orientation to take advantage of natural daylight, passive shading and other environmental controls that benefit the hospital and patients. In total, the new facility's features brought down UMCPP's carbon footprint 50 percent.
University of Michigan Medical Center (Ann Arbor). In 2012, the University of Michigan Medical Center, the major academic medical center within the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers, completed 12 energy conservation projects. These included installing advanced air handling unit controls, restructuring heating and cooling schedules, retrofitting water fixtures and putting in occupancy sensors for lighting and ventilation. UMMC and UMHHC also reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 3 percent and raised the overall recycle rate to 28 percent of all waste. UMMC also subscribes to the University of Michigan's sustainability and education program, Planet Blue, which "helps solve sustainability challenges on local-to-global scales by creating, teaching and practicing innovative approaches to improve the health of the planet, inspire future generations and advance the international conversation."
Vidant Chowan Hospital (Edenton, N.C.). The 25-bed Vidant Chowan Hospital, a member of Vidant Health in Greenville, N.C. that recorded more than 2,100 admissions in 2012, has become one of the greenest critical access hospitals over the past year. In May, it received two awards from Practice Greenhealth: Partner for Change and Making Medicine Mercury Free. Lizbeth White leads the Vidant Chowan Green Council and said in a release earlier this year that the "staff has really gotten excited about reducing hospital waste. From recycling to replacing standard light bulbs with LED light bulbs, we're always looking for new ways to be more environmentally friendly." The energy-efficient facility also monitors its footprint through the EPA's Energy Star portfolio.
Virginia Mason Medical Center (Seattle). Virginia Mason Medical Center's sustainability practices are among the most highly recognized for healthcare organizations across country. The 336-bed hospital's environmental stewardship program, EnviroMason, is based off the Virginia Mason Production System, which encourages employee-led and Lean-based techniques to identify waste and instill environmental changes. Under EnviroMason, Virginia Mason became the first hospital in its local region to recycle in the operating room. It also was the first hospital in the Pacific Northwest to eliminate garbage cans and Styrofoam. Virginia Mason has commuter-friendly initiatives for patients and employees, a sustainable food and nutrition program that emphasizes local food sourcing and other innovations that have led to awards from Practice Greenhealth, Seattle Business Magazine and others.
West Kendall Baptist Hospital (Miami). The 133-bed West Kendall Baptist Hospital, a teaching facility within Coral Gables, Fla.-based Baptist Health South Florida, opened in April 2011, marking the first new hospital in Miami in roughly 35 years. Within six months of opening, it received LEED Gold certification due to its location near accessible mass transit, efficient water flow design, investments in green power through renewable energy credits and other sustainability-based efforts. Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and co-founder of the USGBC, said of the hospital: "The work of innovative building projects such as West Kendall Baptist Hospital is a fundamental driving force in the green building movement."
Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island (Providence). In 2010, Women and Infants Hospital, along with three other organizations, helped form Hospitals for a Healthy Environment in Rhode Island. H2ERI's main focus is to help healthcare providers in the state transition to best practices that encourage environmental sustainability, such as reducing medical devices that have toxic compounds like PVC and DEHP. The 247-bed Women and Infants also constructed a new pavilion in 2010 that achieved LEED Gold certification, and it allots parking spaces for hybrid vehicles.
Yale-New Haven (Conn.) Hospital. Yale-New Haven Hospital has implemented a progressive sustainability approach for the past several years, and its efforts yielded positive results in 2012. Last year, the 1,008-bed YNHH reduced medical waste volume 2 percent, recycled 95 percent of major construction and demolition debris and diverted more than 300,000 pounds of food waste into a bio-digester. The hospital also received various awards for its efforts in 2012, including a Leadership Award for Sustainability Excellence from VHA and Making Medicine Mercury Free Award from Practice Greenhealth. In 2010, YNHH received the Innovative New Transportation Demand Management Program Award at the New England Transportation Demand Management Conference for its work in encouraging alternative forms of transportation. For example, the hospital offers discounted bus and train tickets, provides a van shuttle system and has an active bike-to-work program for employees.
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