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The Healthcare System: Reducing Carbon Footprint for Hospitals

It’s no secret that almost every industry these days has a contribution to carbon footprint, harming our environment and health. The healthcare system is no exception, from pharmaceutical companies, public and community health, to hospitals. Fortunately, many states and healthcare organizations are encouraging everyone in the field to take action.

Today, hospitals and other healthcare institutions are taking steps toward sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint. Some are entirely switching to paperless transactions, while others are implementing recycling programs to reduce waste. But besides these popular sustainability efforts, there are other amazing ways your hospital can cut down your carbon footprint. Find out what they are below.

1. Assign a sustainability officer

Planning and implementing sustainability practices can be chaotic, especially when handling a big team or company. One way to keep things more organized and well-managed is to assign a hospital sustainability offer.

Having someone who could lead and oversee the newly implemented practices can make it easier for your staff to be motivated to participate. The officer can monitor if all medical staff is doing their part in reducing waste or energy use in the building. At the same time, your sustainability officer can review reports regarding energy use and confirm if your facility isn’t consuming the recommended energy requirements. This is also crucial for gauging changes in your energy consumption or waste management.

2. Cut operating room waste

It’s no secret that a big chunk of the overall hospital waste comes from operating rooms. To solve this problem, many hospitals are improving their recycling programs and switching to reusable medical supplies instead of one-use items. But apart from the medical supply waste itself, even your operating room’s ventilation can up your fuel consumption.

Ventilation is necessary for minimizing the risk of infection, but the excessive amount of air changes isn’t just costly but also increases waste in your facility. Another major contributor to hospital emissions is anesthetic gas. When medically appropriate, one changes your operating room’s anesthetic gases to obtain significant savings while reducing your emissions.

Also, don’t forget to be careful in choosing the anesthetic gas you use for operations, as some are more expensive and harmful to the environment.

3. Use ethically-made equipment

In a month or year, an average hospital acquires a significant number of medical devices and equipment used for patient care. The catch is, many traditional healthcare tools are either made from harmful plastic or use dangerous chemicals during their production. Luckily, many medical organizations and third-party companies choose to provide ethically-made devices and equipment to medical facilities like hospitals.

For example, you can now find medical procedure carts that are made using sustainable and responsible methods. These care carts aren’t just designed aesthetically but also manufactured in an eco-friendly way. Look for reputable sellers of ethically-sourced medical tools and suppliers. Other notable devices to invest in are battery-free ECG systems and energy-efficient medical exam lights.

 4. Minimize chemical exposure

a chemical tank

Sanitation and disinfecting are major parts of any hospital’s health and safety practices. The problem is, conventional cleaners are not the most sustainable option. They contain harmful chemicals that can endanger both the health of our planet and humans. The ingredients can lead to air pollution that will slowly cause more damage to the ozone layer.

In human health, conventional cleaners can trigger or result in reproductive defects, neurological problems, rashes, nausea, difficulty in breathing, and headaches. To avoid such issues, use cleaning products that are green-certified in your hospital. Such cleaners are biodegradable and non-toxic as they are manufactured using ecological practices and packed sustainably.

5. Convert to clean energy

Fossil fuels are nonrenewable, which means they’ll eventually run out. Luckily, there are now tons of alternative energy sources that hospitals can switch to. Other healthcare systems are also starting to invest more in renewable yet clean energy for the community and patients’ health. Using such power can also reduce utility costs, appeal and retain top-tier clients, and boost your operations’ resilience to disasters.

Solar is a top energy resource used in both residential and commercial applications. This technology uses solar PV panels to convert the sun’s energy into electricity. There are also geothermal technologies, which offer a healthier alternative for generating air conditioning during summer and heat in the winter. Depending on your hospital building’s needs, other renewable sources you can consider are wind turbines, biogas, biomass, and hydropower.

By becoming more responsible with your facility’s carbon emissions, you can create a better reputation in the healthcare industry. Not only do you get to help people with their health concerns, but you also protect the environment from greenhouse gas emissions. Take part in minimizing climate change and making your healthcare facility a sustainable environment.

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