Greening the Medical Center

Green Healthcare News

April 2017

Lead-Contaminated Drinking Water Goes Far Beyond Flint
In fact, 63 percent of Americans worry “a great deal” about polluted drinking water, and ranked it as more concerning than air pollution, climate change and the extinction of plant and animal species, according to a Gallup poll conducted in March.

Use sustainable landscaping for a positive mark
There are ways to use resources more efficiently and cut back on energy consumption inside, of course, but one eco-friendly idea for businesses exists that you might not have considered: sustainable landscaping.

Designs That Heal
Healthcare designers and researchers are starting to ask what they can do to better support patients, staff, and families in these settings.

Practice Greenhealth Announces Winners of Top 25 Environmental Excellence Awards
Practice Greenhealth, the nation’s leading nonprofit membership and networking organization for sustainable health care, has announced the winners of its annual Top 25 Environmental Excellence Awards.

The profitable hospital system with sustainability in its DNA
We have all heard the aphorism “health is wealth.” Gundersen Health Systems, a nonprofit hospital network operating in 19 counties across three Midwest states, is proving this.

66 percent of the world faces water shortages every year
While it has been known for some time that the world water crisis is among the top three global problems, we now have a more accurate number and percentage of people who are currently facing this problem.

How a Laboratory Energy Retrofit Can Improve Sustainability and Reduce Utility Consumption
Existing laboratories provide significant opportunities to reduce utility consumption, improve sustainability, and manage costs.

Fairview to cut pop, other sugar-sweetened drinks at hospitals, clinics
Fairview Health Services will stop selling sugar-sweetened drinks at its facilities, including hospitals, to promote healthier lifestyles.

Boxborough firm is shredding medical waste — and expectations
Instead of the convoluted packaging, hauling, tracking, and incineration, Sterilis has created a medical waste shredder.

8 ways cities are upping the ante on building efficiency
Buildings account for about one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions (PDF) and it’s more like half in many big cities.

March 2017

Healthcare Sustainability
Today we’re seeing efforts to tackle root causes and complex, sector-wide problems like climate change and greening the supply chain — reducing health care’s impact on the environment and the environment’s impact on public health.

Medical supply surpluses a common source of hospital waste
Much has been made about the costliness of the American healthcare system, but one factor that may be driving up medical costs is the prevalence of “medical surplus,” essentially usable supplies that hospitals discard when new equipment comes in…

New Device Combines Steam Sterilization with a Grinder for Onsite Medical Waste Treatment
Sterilis LLC has developed a device that combines steam sterilization with a grinder, allowing it to be treated on-site and at point-of-care in about 60 minutes and requiring no dedicated plumbing, drainage, or fixtures.

Stryker’s Sustainability Solutions’ Bill Scott talks reprocessed medical devices
Faced with rising operational costs and healthcare policy’s unclear direction, many hospitals have begun utilizing reprocessed medical devices, a trend that could cut $500,000 to $2 million off a facility’s budget every year.

A Gas Turbine Microgrid Offers a Prescription for Sustainable Energy
To meet both needs, Seton chose to power their new facility with a combined heat and power (CHP) plant that would not only provide power, but also capture waste heat from the combustion process to provide district heating.

February 2017

Health and Safety Regulations Hang in the Balance As Trump Signs New Executive Order
President Trump signed an executive order in February 2017 stating that federal agencies must eliminate two regulations for each new one issued.

Final EPA Assessment of Ethylene Oxide Sets Strict Cancer Potency Estimate
In December 2016, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its third and final assessment of ethylene Oxide (EtO), a commonly used sterilizing chemical in health care.

Protecting world’s most vulnerable populations from climate change
Many lessons for addressing the effects of climate change were shared throughout the course of the Climate & Health Meeting, held Feb. 16 at the Carter Center in Atlanta, and one panel discussed ways we can find solutions from a less obvious source: low- and middle-income countries.

10 reasons health care needs sustainability treatments
Health care is in conflict with itself — in some ways, it’s its own worst enemy. A sound treatment protocol has to be balanced with resource conservation and management.

Here’s how hospitals can heal through sustainability
While the current debates around health care focus on the financial costs, we also need to consider the cost to our environment.

Test and scale: Action-based approach to sustainable healthcare
Long committed to working with partners and stakeholders to improve health care sustainability in Europe, AbbVie is developing pilot programs to identify problems, test solutions and scale up successful initiatives.

In America’s Heartland, A Power Company Leads Charge For Electric Cars
A $20 million project launched two years ago by investor-owned Kansas City Power & Light, whose service area straddles the Kansas-Missouri border, has turned a Midwestern metropolitan area into one of the fastest-growing electric vehicle markets in the country.

Renewable NRG producing 100 percent of energy on-site
Vermont Business Magazine Renewable NRG Systems (RNRG) has added two fixed solar arrays to its LEED Gold-certified headquarters in Hinesburg, allowing the company to meet all of its electricity needs with on-site, renewable energy.

On the light track to improved design for healthcare
As a member of the Light and Health Alliance, USAI Lighting recently worked with Mariana Figueiro, Program Director at the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, to stay up to date with research findings from the latest metric in lighting (and health), Circadian Stimulus (CS).

Healthcare plastics recycling project identifies challenges, opportunities
More than 10 billion pounds of plastic healthcare packaging were placed on the market in 2013, only 14% of which were collected for recycling, according to BCC Research in its Plastics for Healthcare Packaging report.

Is your sustainable supply chain program really as good as you think?
“While the principle of having a sustainable supply chain program is clear and widely accepted, there is still a lack of consensus on the practice.”

Health Care Sustainable Purchasing Tool Under Development
A new partnership between Underwriters Laboratories and Greenhealth Exchange aims to help health care companies realize these financial and EHS benefits by sourcing safer and healthier products and services.

‘Green’ Buildings May Boost Productivity, Cut Down on Sick Days
A series of new studies, led by Harvard University and SUNY Upstate Medical University, found that occupants of high-performing green buildings showed higher cognitive function scores, fewer sick-building symptoms and higher sleep quality scores than workers in high-performing buildings without green certification.

January 2017

Greenhealth Exchange Sees Significant Growth in 2016
Greenhealth Exchange, launched in May of 2016, has seen its health system ownership nearly double in the span of just seven months.

Healthcare Sustainable Purchasing Tool Under Development
A new partnership between Underwriters Laboratories and Greenhealth Exchange aims to help health care companies realize these financial and EHS benefits by sourcing safer and healthier products and services.

How Hospitals, Recyclers Can Make Recycling Healthcare Plastics Economically Viable
To address low recycling rates and increase the amount of healthcare plastics managed in a circular economy approach, the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council and the Plastics Industry Association launched a multi-hospital plastics recycling project in the Chicago area.

Practice Greenhealth’s Sustainability Benchmark Report Shows Strong Progress in Environmental Performance Among Nation’s Leading Hospitals
On January 4th, Practice Greenhealth, the nation’s leading nonprofit membership and networking organization for sustainable health care, released its eighth annual Sustainability Benchmark Report.

Challenges of hospital plastics recycling include contamination, low commodity values
A recent Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council (HPRC) report found that although it is possible to recover value from various types of plastic medical waste, there are many logistical challenges.

Turning operating room trash into artistic treasure at UW Hospital
Environmentalism, medicine and art all have one thing in common at UW Hospital. Staff members are now recycling and reusing medical plastic, like vial caps, that otherwise would have been thrown away, largely for art projects.

Women bear the brunt of climate-forced migration
Climate Change Knows no Borders, prepared by ActionAid, Climate Action Network South Asia and Bread for the World (Brot Fuer Die Welt) calls on national policymakers to especially monitor impacts of climate-induced migration on women and urgently address the policy gap.

Living Among Warehouses, Community Fights to Breathe
About 1,341 people in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale area are estimated to die each year because of pollution levels.

Hospital touts success of recycling program
The San Juan Regional Medical Center has been actively working on reducing its carbon footprint since 2007, a hospital officials says, resulting in a reduction of 200 tons of waste taken to the landfill each year and a total savings of $2 million to the hospital.

Tunable LED patient-room lighting offers energy efficiency, more
With the help of Department of Energy (DOE) funding, Philips Lighting Research North America is developing an innovative prototype LED patient-suite lighting system that’s not only energy-efficient, but also goes beyond meeting the visual needs of patients, caregivers and visitors to also meet their nonvisual needs.

Hospitals Share Successes, Challenges from Pilot Healthcare Plastics Recycling Program
In December 2016, the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council (HPRC) announced the completion of a multi-hospital plastics recycling project in Chicago, collaborating with the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS).

Cape Town center a standout for sustainable hospital operations management
A range of green technologies is making the new Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, a model facility for sustainable hospital operations management.

Hispanics more likely to be affected by climate change
Hispanics in the U.S. face greater health impacts from climate change than people of other races and ethnicities, and are also likely to favor measures that would curb its effects, according to a new report.

December 2016

Over 70 Hospitals Engaged in Conscientious Culinary Creativity for Food Day
With more than 70 participants from California to Massachusetts, Wisconsin to Florida and the places in between such as Wyoming and Colorado, hospitals answered the call to source and serve food that makes a difference.

Greenhealth Cost of Ownership Calculator
Practice Greenhealth and our partners have developed the the Greenhealth Cost of Ownership (GCO) Calculator that brings the hidden costs of various medical devices to the surface.

Florida Health Systems Share Regional Energy and Water Efficiency Best Practices
In response to the human and ecological health challenges associated with these conditions, the Florida Hospital Association, a member of Practice Greenhealth, recently launched its Hospital Sustainability Collaborative.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Announces Funding for Zero Emission Research The Federal Transit Administration recently announced a $2.75 million opportunity for nonprofit organizations to apply for funding to facilitate the advancement, production, and deployment of zero-emission public transportation vehicle technology and related infrastructure.

Google will soon deliver on 100% renewables promise
Sometime within the next 12 months, internet search and cloud services giant Google will be buying enough clean power on an ongoing basis to account for the electricity needs of both its 13 data centers (so far) and offices in more than 150 cities around the world.

Medical waste recycling process could provide NHS with revenue source
One of Wales’ oldest hospitals is pioneering a new recycling process, which its developers say could ‘revolutionise how healthcare providers worldwide deal with medical waste wrap material’.

Vulnerable populations at risk from effects of climate change: Public health working to find solutions
For vulnerable populations, such as children, low-income people, people with disabilities, pregnant people and minorities, the health effects of climate change-related extreme weather events can be especially devastating.

How Design Thinking Turned One Hospital into a Bright and Comforting Place
Over the past 10 years, the hospital’s managers have transformed their institution from the usual, grim, human-repair shop into a bright and comforting place.

November 2016

Health and environment ministers pledge climate actions to reduce 12.6 million environment-related deaths Gathering at the COP22 climate meeting in Marrakech, over two dozen high level officials from both sectors signed up to the Declaration for Health, Environment and Climate Change this November.

The power of climate-competent boards
Tangible action that locks us into a net zero greenhouse gas emissions trajectory, as quickly as possible, is more vital than ever. But just as Paris entered into force, the geo-political landscape shifted dramatically.

EU unveils plans to boost ‘clean energy’ use
The EU on Wednesday unveiled “clean energy” plans to boost renewable use, cut waste and reduce subsidies for coal power in a bid to meet its commitments to the Paris climate deal.

Education and Health Sectors Align through Sustainable Food Standards
The Real Food Challenge recently released a set of comprehensive sustainable food standards with which to evaluate the ecological, sociological, and economical impact of individual food products and enable informed purchasing decisions within the university sector.

Healthcare-related ballot measures that passed: State by state
Here are issues that appeared on 2016 election ballots in 10 states and passed, according to

Cracking the code for small hospital sustainability
Limited financial resources and geographic locations can make it challenging for community hospitals to remain sustainable in an environment of competition for providers and physicians while offering scaled-down services.

Get Smart About Antibiotics Week: Clinician Storytelling
For Get Smart Week 2016, Health Care Without Harm and the Clinician Comprehensive Antibiotic Stewardship (CCCAS) Collaborative have collected stories from clinicians about their experience with antibiotic resistance to motivate transformative policy change.

Hospitals crave antibiotic-free meat to reduce threat of superbugs
More hospitals have worked to eliminate antibiotics in the meat they serve in patient meals in an effort to address concerns about the rise of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens.

Blue Wrap and the Circular Economy
Fifteen percent of hospital waste is recyclable plastic, equating to 2.1 million lbs. generated daily or 766.5 million lbs. of plastic waste annually. Blue wrap represents 255 million lbs. of this.

Research Shows That OR Waste Prevention Strategies Add Up
Researchers at the UCSF Department of Neurosurgery studied 58 neurosurgery procedures and found that these cases wasted an average of $653 in unused disposable surgical supplies. That added up to $968 per case or $2.9 million per year.

High-tech sensors monitor ecosystems in climate change research program
New technology is bringing an unprecedented level of environmental surveillance to sites throughout California and beyond as part of a UC systemwide effort to understand and predict the effects of climate change on the state’s ecosystems.

Healthy Hospital Food: A New Approach to Patient Recovery
A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that Healthy Hospital Food Initiative (HHFI) in New York City significantly improved the nutritional quality of patient meals in NYC hospitals.

October 2016

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Releases the 2016 Sustainable Campus Index
The 2016 Sustainable Campus Index, a publication by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), recognizes top-performing colleges and universities overall and in 17 distinct aspects of sustainability, as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS).

Food Day Recipe Challenge
Every October 24, Food Day inspires Americans to resolve to make changes in our own diets and to take action to solve food-related problems in our communities at the local, state, and national level.

New Film Showcases Health Care’s Mission to Protect People and the Planet
In honor of its 20th anniversary celebration, Health Care Without Harm has released “Do No Harm,” a short film that discusses the medical field’s impact on climate change and actions that hospitals can take to reduce their carbon emissions that harm both patients and the planet.

New tool helps urban communities build resilience to climate change
The new Built Environment topic in the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit can help community leaders and businesses address a wide range of risks facing cities and towns.

Smart City Planning Can Cut Deadly Diseases, Improve Air Quality
An international study led by the University of Melbourne in Australia and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) found that cities that promote walking, bicycling and public transportation can expect a drop in chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.

CircuitGuard™ awarded the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN) Seal of Recognition
It is legal to use a circuit labeled SPU for multiple patients FDA cleared as a hygienic alternative to decontamination of anesthesia equipment. CircuitGuard™ filter’s exclusive Unitized Construction protects anesthesia circuits from contamination and protects patients from contaminated circuits.

Providing subsistence foods for Alaska healthcare facilities
In the heart of Alaska’s largest city, the 167-bed Alaska Native Medical Center facility serves Alaska Native and American Indian people from all walks of life. So, how do you provide traditional meals within the sterile, heavily regulated walls of a hospital or other health care facility?

Vegan food ‘should be on menus at schools, hospitals and prisons’
The Vegan Prisoners Support Group (VPSG) has long provided help, support and information to prisons on how to ensure vegan prisoners have access to decent food and cruelty-free bodycare products.

Council Votes to Ban “Greenwashing” of Non-Compostable Bags
The Seattle City Council recently voted unanimously to make Seattle the first place in the nation to ban the use of misleading green- and brown-tinted non-compostable plastic bags. The lawmakers also moved to prohibit the use of false “eco” labeling on non-compostable bags, and to make permanent Seattle’s five-cent charge for recyclable paper shopping bags.

Hospitals Invest in Building Stronger, Healthier Communities
Several large health systems are using community benefit dollars and money from community investment funds to reach beyond the walls of their institutions and address the upstream determinants of health—including access to safe housing, healthy food, and employment.

50 of the greenest hospitals in America | 2016
Becker’s Hospital Review is pleased to name 50 hospitals as some of the greenest hospitals in America.The 50 hospitals on this list have fully committed to being environmentally friendly, as evidenced by the robust programs they have implemented and awards and recognitions they have won for their efforts.

Hospital Room Design Connected to Key Aspect of Patient Safety
How a hospital room is designed may keep patients safer and healthier and shorten their hospital stay, a design researcher at Texas Tech University has found.

Toxic chemicals tied to $340 billion in U.S. health costs and lost wages
Chemicals found in plastic bottles, flame retardants, metal food cans, detergents, cosmetics and pesticides cost the U.S. more than $340 billion a year in health costs and lost earnings, a new study estimates.

Data-Driven Energy Performance is The Future of Green Building
Green building certifications have brought about a strong movement in sustainable building practices, from resourcing locally and responsibly to building better and smarter. However, these certifications only take building so far - the future, says Scot Horst, is in energy management.

How turning food waste into fertilizer benefits the industry
WISErg’s solution is more cyclical in nature: It enables food waste to return to the earth and fertilize tomorrow’s crops. This benefits farmers, who can generate more revenue off higher yields. But it can also improve profitability for manufacturers that work with these farmers and can enjoy a more plentiful supply at a potentially lower cost.

September 2016

Hospitals take a ‘waste not, want not’ approach to food operations
Food waste, as messy as it can be, is an area that’s helping hospitals to cut costs and help the environment. A number of health systems are taking steps to use more of the food they obtain for their food services and looking for ways to reuse the food waste that is produced.

Boston’s ‘Green Ribbon Commission’ activating civic leadership
In the fall of 2015, the Boston Medical Center announced its plan to become the city’s “greenest” hospital. As the Boston Globe reported, the hospital set aggressive goals for reducing its emissions by investing in energy efficiency, while also improving its bottom line.

The next phase in green building is healthier buildings
The financial benefits of green building have been well established. Studies have repeatedly shown green building certification such as LEED and BREEAM lead to lower operating costs. But, the next phase of green building: healthier buildings that improve employee wellness.

Put your best food forward: Celebrate Food Day 2016 with our recipe challenge
Every Oct. 24, Food Day inspires Americans to resolve to make changes in our own diets and to take action to solve food-related problems in our communities. To celebrate Food Day in 2016, Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth have teamed up with Menus of Change.

Why design for recycling matters in healthcare and what you can do about it 
In the United States, the typical operating room contributes 5.4 tons of medical waste to landfills each year, translating to costs of $5,234 per operating room, according to Practice Greenhealth’s 2015 Sustainability Benchmark Report.

Temple University Hospital named a ‘healthier hospital’ 
Representatives from several hospitals in Philadelphia were honored by a local nonprofit recently for their efforts toward making the city healthier. Common Market, a local nonprofit that connects institutions with healthy, local food, honored TUH along with Jeanes Auxiliary Hospital and Lankenau Medical Center.

Johnson & Johnson buying 100 megawatts of Texas wind power 
Johnson & Johnson, the world’s biggest maker of healthcare products, agreed to buy 100 megawatts of capacity from a wind-power project in the Texas Panhandle. The company signed a 12-year power purchase agreement to buy half the output from a 200-megawatt wind project being developed by EON SE.

Study shows hospitals waste millions tossing away unused supplies 
Want to stop the money from hemorrhaging out of your hospital? Try not tossing away that $4,000 bleed-stopping surgifoam sponge without having used it. The sponge was the most expensive unused item discarded post-op, according to UCSF research published in the May issue of Journal of Neurosurgery.

Determining the cost of not going green
Leading healthcare sustainability steward Practice Greenhealth, Reston, Virginia, rolled out a new tool to help hospitals simplify purchasing of green products and evaluate their life-time costs compared with other market choices.

Raising the bar  Gundersen Health System, a La Crosse, Wisconsin-based network of six medical centers and dozens of clinics in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa, has long been recognized for championing environmental sustainability. Among its achievements, Gundersen Health became the first health system in the country to produce more energy than it consumed in late 2014.

Sourcing stewards: HealthTrust committed to sourcing for healthy interiors
HealthTrust has made environmental stewardship a priority by participating in the Healthier Hospitals Healthy Interiors initiative, a program of Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth. To meet HI’s 2.0 goal, hospitals have to ensure that 30 percent of their annual furniture and furnishings purchases (based on cost) are HI-compliant products and free of hazardous chemicals.

The key to greening healthcare
In healthcare, environmental stewardship can offer an alternative way to practice the Hippocratic Oath — to heal and do no harm. Hospitals can have a positive effect on both indoor and outdoor environments by using safer products, reducing air pollution, eliminating toxins, creating less waste, and using energy and water efficiently.

Sparrow Ionia Hospital wins green building certificate
The Sparrow Ionia Hospital was awarded a Leadership in Environmental and Leadership Design green building certificate. The hospital was built in 2015 and is the first critical access hospital in Michigan to receive the certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Practice Greenhealth launching tool to help hospitals compare long-term equipment costs
Practice Greenhealth has made yet another move into supply chain with the expected launch of a tool that helps hospitals forecast the total cost of using and maintaining a product, beyond just the purchase price.

Canadian Medical Association completes divestment from fossil fuels
The Canadian Medical Association’s General Council, held recently in Vancouver, may well be remembered as the moment that Canadian doctors made climate change — dubbed “the biggest health threat of the 21st century” by the World Health Organization — a priority.

Cleveland Clinic’s green fund delivers results
Cleveland Clinic is betting big on the environment, launching several ambitious energy-saving efforts paid for in large part through a fund dedicated to green projects. Touted as the largest of its kind in the healthcare field, at about $7.5 million when the green revolving fund was announced in May, Cleveland Clinic is moving quickly to increase its energy efficiency by investing in large-scale projects.

HackensackUMC calls on food producers, manufacturers to provide sustainable meat and poultry to the healthcare industry
Hackensack University Medical Center (HackensackUMC), a member of Hackensack Meridian Health, joined health systems across the country recently in calling on food producers and manufacturers to provide sustainable meat and poultry for the healthcare industry.

August 2016

New green advancements in hospital environments
The call for industries to become eco-friendly has not fallen on deaf ears. Any organization that wants to remain relevant to the population it serves is trying to meet this new demand. This includes healthcare.

Green Building Conference — focus on healthcare facilities
What makes a building “green” or “healthy”? Minimal energy footprint? Tenant comfort? This conference on Sept. 20 in Chicago uses hospitals to exemplify what steps American and German building owners are taking to make their facilities more sustainable and “healthy” for their clients.

Healthcare sector demands sustainable meat and poultry
Nine U.S. health systems, supported by a network of thousands of healthcare facilities across the United States, are calling on food producers and manufacturers to meet the growing demand for sustainable meat and poultry within healthcare.

New exchange aims to bleed green, not red
When it comes to progressing toward and implementing environmentally responsible contracting and purchasing of sustainable products and services, a small percentage of forward-thinking “green”-minded healthcare organizations have been making some waves.

Are disposable hospital supplies trashing the environment?
It’s something that a patient who is worried about a surgery or recovering from a trauma is unlikely to think about. But behind the scenes, plastic syringes, single-use gowns, sterile packaging, surgical instruments and much more are piling into dumpsters.

6 Ways Climate Change Harms Health in California
The Public Health Institute and the Center for Climate Change and Health have released a new infographic with stats on food security, natural disasters, vector-borne diseases, heat-related illness, water shortages and air quality, along with call-out boxes highlighting the increased risks to our most vulnerable communities.

Health Care Sector Demands Sustainable Meat and Poultry
Leading health systems urge food producers, manufacturers, and supply chain to offer more sustainably raised meat and poultry products, starting with those raised without routine antibiotics.

The last Summer Olympics? Climate change, health and work outdoors
Climate change threatens human health in many ways. Perhaps the most pernicious of these impacts is the growing expansion in season and geography of outdoor conditions (or unprotected indoor spaces) in which heavy work is no longer safe.

Why measuring waste GHG emissions matters
Accounting for greenhouse gas emissions from waste isn’t as straightforward as, say, measuring those from corporate fleets. But as stakeholders increasingly demand companies reduce their carbon footprint — and firms seek zero-waste accreditation — tracking and disclosing waste GHG emissions is key.

Marin’s $535 million ‘spa-like’ sustainable hospital breaks ground
When patients check in to the new Marin General Hospital in 2020, it’s possible they might mistake it for a spa. With floor-to-ceiling windows, the half-billion-dollar facility was designed with patient and staff comfort levels as one of its priorities, plus use of materials, construction process and design to meet high environmental standards.

10 organizations leading the pack on healthy materials
Our homes are fraught with carcinogens. Endocrine disruptors, neurotoxins and a laundry list of other types of harmful chemicals are likely in every room of your house. These toxics are in the hygiene products in your medicine cabinet as well as in the materials that make up your bathroom.

Apple is officially cleared to sell surplus solar energy
Tech giant Apple started Apple Energy LLC back in June with the goal of selling their surplus solar energy. While 93 percent of their power came from renewable energy last year, some of Apple’s solar farms produce enough energy that the company apparently decided to jump into the clean energy business. Now the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has granted Apple approval to sell its surplus energy.

Energy-generating ‘smart bricks’ turn ordinary buildings into efficient living machines
A cool project with an unfortunate acronym, LIAR or Living Architecture is developing construction bricks composed of biofilm that can harness solar energy, wastewater and air pollution, and turn them into usable resources.

Hospital chain in India sets a model for low carbon footprint, environment-friendly cataract surgery
As awareness and concerns about the environmental issues related to global warming increase, the high impact of current surgical procedures and the need for alternative, more sustainable strategies have become a new research focus.

How hospitals are preventing and optimizing leftover food
Food waste, as messy as it can be, is an area that’s helping hospitals to cut costs and help the environment.

Eastern Maine Medical Center recycling in every operating room
“I’m used to recycling household trash for a long time, but it’s an entirely different level to do it in a hospital, in an operating room environment,” said Dr. Karl-Heinz Spittler, chief of anesthesia.

VA wins ‘Greenhealth’ award
The Northern Arizona VA Health Care System has won a “Greenhealth Partner for Change” Award. The Greenhealth Partner for Change Award recognizes healthcare facilities that continuously improve and expand upon their mercury elimination, waste reduction, recycling and source reduction programs, according to a news release.

Children’s Environmental Health Summit presented by Alaska Community Action on Toxics
Alaska Community Action on Toxics is organizing a Children’s Environmental Health Summit — the first of its kind in Alaska — on Oct. 5 and 6 at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage.

July 2016

Increased asthma attacks tied to exposure to natural gas production.
New study in the heart of Pennsylvania’s fracking region shows increase in severity of asthma among residents exposed to most active wells.

Going green starts with surgeon demand
In my operating room, we often joke that we are “going green” on those happy occasions when we don’t need to open a product that we thought we’d need for surgery. It’s funny to us because we’ve become so numbed to throwing away bags and bags of trash generated by surgery each day.

Healthcare’s water conversation efforts have ripple effect
Reducing energy consumption isn’t the only area where healthcare organizations and designers are making a positive environmental impact these days. In response to rising water and sewage rates, changing regulations, and the increasing occurrence of extreme weather conditions, more facilities are starting to look for ways to reduce their water consumption, as well.

Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals join online solar marketplace to go green
Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals are among providers launching a program that allows healthcare systems to go solar and to offer solar energy to their employees, patients and community members. Geostellar, an online solar marketplace, recently announced the launch of the Solar.Clinic program at Intersolar North America, a solar exhibition, according to a news release. 

Medical center reduces blood waste, saves millions with new practices
Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, say they reduced blood use by 30 percent and saved $2 million after implementing new practice guidelines on blood utilization that they developed themselves. 

Leading the way for food equity
For those of us who are committed to making a positive impact on the food landscape of New York City, it’s an immensely hopeful time for progress. There are more New York-based organizations working to bring healthier food to more people today than ever before. And businesses are adopting sustainable practices to responsibly participate in the supply chain, from implementing food waste-alleviating practices to sustainable sourcing of their products.

Smart buildings evolve to smart offices and enhance the human experience
A new report, Activate to Collaborate: The evolution of the smart office, by Preeti Bajaj, vice-president of strategy and transformation at Schneider Electric, addresses this smart building intersection of sustainability, and worker comfort and productivity.”

Obama’s new energy initiative another win for solar
The White House announced a truly groundbreaking initiative recently called the Clean Energy Savings for All Americans. This program aims to increase access to solar energy across communities of all income levels and geographies, so that no matter where you live, if you have a sunny roof, you have the chance to go solar.

$850,000 gift will help Grady Hospital get greener
The Grady Health Foundation has received an $850,000 gift from the Kendeda Fund to create a Green Revolving Fund, a financing tool to invest in sustainability projects, such as energy efficiency, water conservation and renewable energy

Renewable energies that will revolutionize sustainable cities of the future
Everyone knows that carbon levels are higher than they were in the past, but the numbers are shocking: the EPA reports that since 1972, CO2 emissions have increased by 90 percent globally.This is why many environmentalists and scientists are looking to more sustainable energy options to power our world.

June 2016

Not the Full Loaf, But a Slice of Chemical Reform Is an Important StepYesterday, President Obama signed into law a long-awaited update to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the federal law responsible for protecting us from toxic chemicals. Together with many organizations, Health Care Without Harm has been advocating for years for a more health-protective chemical management framework that puts public health and the environment above the needs of the chemical industry.

South Pole is the Last Place on Earth to Pass a Global Warming Milestone The Earth passed another unfortunate milestone May 23 when carbon dioxide (CO2) surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm) at the South Pole for the first time in 4 million years. NOAA.

Harvard Study Finds $33B Annual Net Benefit From a Power Plant Carbon Standard Nearly all U.S. regions stand to gain health and economic benefits from power plant carbon standards similar to the Clean Power Plan (CPP). Health Energy Initiative.

Coal and Gas to Stay Cheap, but Renewables Still Win Race on Costs Low prices for coal and gas are likely to persist, but will fail to prevent a fundamental transformation of the world electricity system over coming decades towards renewable sources such as wind and solar, and towards balancing options such as batteries. Bloomberg.

Environmental Impacts of the U.S. Health Care System and Effects on Public Health The U.S. health care sector is highly interconnected with industrial activities that emit much of the nation’s pollution to air, water, and soils. PLOS One.

High Temperatures Kill—but No One Takes Them Seriously Hot weather claims more American lives than all other natural disasters combined—and the death toll is expected to rise as the climate changes. Advisory Board.

May 2016

How to Choose the Correct Emission Control Technology Increasingly stringent clean air standards and heightened concerns over greenhouse gas emissions are driving technology enhancements in manufacturing and throughout industry. Environmental Leader.

5 Types of Light Pollution and Their Environmental Impact From radically disrupting ecosystems to increased CO2 emissions, light pollution goes far beyond just eliminating our view of the stars. Treehugger.

4 Surprising Ways Energy-Efficient Buildings Benefit Cities Urbanization presents major challenges: congestion; sprawl; inefficiency; health hazards; and high cost of living, just to name a few. But the choices we make for our cities can transform these challenges into opportunities. Green Biz.

Developing a Hospital Floor Cleaning Program In hospitals and health care facilities, there are few cleaning techniques that can make an impression like a well-maintained floor. Health Facilities Management.

Workplace Safety in Healthcare: Strategies and Resources As the healthcare delivery system continues to evolve, new workflows and ways of accomplishing the work to be done will change, necessitating updates to policy, plans and training. MultiBriefs.

Practice Greenhealth Announces Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award Winners Practice Greenhealth has recognized more than 500 hospitals and health systems for their outstanding environmental achievements, including 25 organizations that received Practice Greenhealth’s 2016 Environmental Excellence Award. Hospital Review.

How Reprocessing Medical Devices Can Save Millions While Diverting Waste Medical waste — more than 5.4 tons per year for an average operating room — costs each operating room about $5,243, according to the 2015 Practice Greenhealth Sustainability Benchmark Report. Environmental Leader.

Providers, Environmental Groups Launch ‘Green’ Purchasing Co-Op Four major health systems have partnered with two environmental organizations to launch a purchasing cooperative focused on “green” products that could compete with traditional group purchasing organizations. Modern Healthcare.

What the Green Climate Fund Really Means for International Development When the world’s poor countries demanded action during the failing United Nations–led climate negotiations in Copenhagen in 2009, the U.S. government responded with a promise: It would help raise US$100 billion a year by 2020 to assist efforts to cope with climate change in the global south. Ensia.

Is Compostable Packaging the Next Step in Sustainability? As ubiquitous as it has become, plastic packaging is one of the biggest waste streams of the packaged food and beverage industry. Since most of the increasingly popular plastic pouches on the market today are non-recyclable, they simply end up in oceans or landfills and can emit harmful methane gas for years to come. Nutritional Outlook.

Researchers Aim to Put Carbon Dioxide Back to Work Think, for a moment, of carbon dioxide as garbage, a waste product from burning fossil fuels. Like other garbage, almost all of that CO2 is thrown away — into the atmosphere, where it contributes to climate change. A small amount is captured and stored underground to keep it out of the air. But increasingly, scientists are asking, rather than throwing away or storing CO2, how about recycling some of it? The New York Times.

Cleaning Up Our Act on Indoor Air Quality Medics concluded air pollution plays a role in many major health challenges including cancer, asthma, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and changes linked to dementia. At the same time, the report noted that when it comes to indoor air quality, there are few building regulations or local authority regulations to regulate, limit or even measure the problem. MultiBrief: Exclusive.

These Entrepreneurs are Using Technology to Turn a Profit on Food Waste Food waste is bad for our wallets. It’s also bad for the environment — the equivalent of throwing away the water, energy and other resources that go into growing it in the first place. But as interest in reducing food waste grows, so does innovation to make it happen. Take a look at what some creative businesses are doing to turn trash into treasure. Ensia.

10-Year Study Shows Green Building Strategies Pay Off—in Real Dollars In the past five years there have been various studies which present evidence on the linkage between green building certification and financial performance. Firstly, making buildings more sustainable is a wise investment (it pays). Secondly, tenants care about certification (the badge matters). Commercial Property Executive.

How Improving Emergency Department Design Leads to Greater Hospital Efficiency Efficient ED operations result in shorter wait times, quicker diagnosis and care plans, maximum utilization of high-cost human and physical resources, and overall better patient experiences and patient satisfaction scores. Building Design + Construction.

Hospitals Must Stay Green and Hold Back The Tide A study by an Anglia Ruskin University academic - on the need for hospitals and healthcare facilities that can withstand worsening natural disasters such as flooding, while reducing their impact on climate change - has won an award from a scientific journal. Cambridge Network.

Cleveland Clinic Establishes $7.5 Million Green Revolving Fund Cleveland Clinic announced the establishment of a $7.5 million Green Revolving Fund — the largest of its kind among U.S. health care systems, it says. Energy efficiency projects pull money from the fund, which then is replenished by reinvesting the savings from reduced energy consumption as well as rebates. Cleveland Business.

Practice Greenhealth celebrates another year of innovation and outstanding performance with its hard-working members What a year! In 2016, more than 727 hospitals initiated applications in the awards system. That is more than 50 percent of the Practice Greenhealth membership and a testament to the growing body of great work hospitals want to share with their peers and the sector. Practice Greenhealth.

FACT SHEET: What Climate Change Means for Your Health and Family Obama Administration Releases Scientific Assessment on Impact of Climate Change to Human Health in the United States. The White House.

Tax Deduction for Food Donation: A Legal Guide This guide, originally published in November 2015 before the federal changes, aims to provide an important resource for food businesses and food recovery organizations to help determine whether a food donor is eligible to receive the enhanced deduction.

Advocate Lutheran General Hospital Patient Tower The 1.5-acre landscape for the Advocate Lutheran General Hospital Patient Tower in Park Ridge, Illinois integrates both didactic stormwater gardens and a series of healing gardens that provide respite and stress-reduction for patients, families, and staff. Because the 12-story, 380,000-sf patient tower expansion to the existing hospital sits tightly on the site and accommodates high day and nightime use, the landscape layers ecological and social functionality through every square foot of rooftop and at-grade landscape. Landscape Performance.

Menu of Change Healthy Food in Health Care is a national program of Health Care Without Harm