Although Earth Day has already passed, you don't want to forget to stay environmentally conscious throughout the year. As a healthcare professional and leader of the hospital, it is up to you to set the example to live a greener, healthier lifestyle.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 7 elements of a green hospital:
- Food- Consume local organic and sustainable food.
- Water- Consume safe, non- bottled drinking water.
- Waste- Reduce waste and recycle whenever possible.
- Alternate Energy- Use alternate forms of energy.
- Green Building Design- Consider green building during the design of new construction.
- Energy Efficiency- reduce energy consumption through clean and efficient energy. Make sure to unplug all unused appliances and electronics.
- Transportation- Encourage other hospital staff to walk or bicycle rather than drive a vehicle whenever possible.
According to ehow.com, here are some simple tips to help make your hospital a little greener:
- Reduce the prospect of respiratory problems by replacing harsh high toxin chemical cleaners with low toxin products, and try to use non-toxic organic cleaners. Buy paint, adhesives and furnishings without irritating odors or fragrances and toxic volatile organic cleaners (VOC) such as formaldehyde
- Improve indoor lighting to reduce the level of stress experienced by patients and staff when you green a hospital. Using larger windows, light wells and surfaces that reflect light to bring "daylight" into the hospital improves workers performance, patient recovery and saves energy
- Use local farmers and distributors of fresh and organic foods. Besides a savings in the cost of shipping and handling, less gasoline is used which is a green benefit to the environment.
- Recycle paper, cans, bottles, plastics, furniture, equipment and other general products to green a hospital. Reuse packing and shipping materials, envelopes for in-house use and choose water-saving and energy-efficient laundry equipment.
- Control and reduce the use of contaminates such as mercury and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) used in many manufactured products including IV bags and tubing. The health benefits are a driving force when you green a hospital
- Plant a healing garden to promote the health of the patients through the beauty and tranquility of the environment and by cooking with herbal plants from the garden
- Incorporate green power and renewable energy in the hospital's energy plan, and increase air ventilation as part of the air pollution plan. Choose a site for a new hospital that can utilize alternative forms of transportation.