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Hospitals Plot Course with Sustainability Roadmap

Groups of health care leaders within the American Hospital Association (AHA) have launched the “Sustainability Roadmap for Hospitals,” a web-based resource for the hospital management to understand and achieve energy efficiency targets.

The website provides background material, sample actions plans, case studies, and target-setting and tracking tools for clear steps health care organizations can take to improve their sustainability efforts and reduce the environmental impacts of their facilities and operations.

According to the website, the groups reviewed benchmark standards established by the AIA 2030 Challenge, but agreed to adopt a year-2050 timeline  — “ still is an aggressive goal for the health care industry” —  for hospitals to achieve carbon neutrality.

The group announced three stages to the plan to reduce energy consumption from fossil fuels:

  • Stop all increases of energy consumed from fossil fuels no later than 2015.
  • Drop energy consumed from fossil fuels to 40 percent below current levels by 2020.
  • Further decrease fossil fuel consumption to 80 percent below current levels by 2050.

The roadmap also outlines entry-level activities, the so-called Green Light Projects. “The projects described all meet the criteria of “low-hanging fruit” in terms of ease of implementation, value, and opportunity for improvement (e.g., cost, environmental, and staff/patient satisfaction). Although the projects on the Green Light list can be implemented without benchmarking or strategic planning, these steps are still recommended as an early step for any project.

The Roadmap is a joint effort of the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE), the Association for the Healthcare Environment (AHE), and the American Society for Health care Resource and Materials Management (AHRMM) in conjunction with consulting firm, Mazzetti Nash Lipsey Burch.  The plan follows up on the AHA’s sustainability statements from the July 2010 report, “Executive Primer on Hospital Environmental Sustainability.”

In other news from the health care sector, in Germany the “Green Hospital” cooperative project pairs polymers and plastics producer, Bayer MaterialScience, and hospital operator, Asklepios Kliniken.

The effort partners Bayer’s “EcoCommercial Building Initiative” with the Asklepios Group’s program in the implementation of sustainability projects in its health care facilities.  The first stage of the partnership will deliver a hygienic floor coating that is easy to apply and easy to clean. Additional projects range from financing to energy efficiency assessments, renewable-energy solutions, noise-reducing structures for walls, and building insulation.

The Asklepios Group is one of the three largest private hospital operators in Germany with more than over 66 hospitals with more than 18,000 beds. Bayer MaterialScience supplies the construction industry with energy-efficient and cost-effective building services and material solutions.

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