Project green hospitals

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Help reduce long-term energy consumption while improving the health of patients and the community!
Patient health, community health, and environmental health are all negatively affected by multiple aspects of hospital construction, design, and maintenance. Increasing numbers of studies have found correlations between the materials used in hospitals and human disease. For instance, volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, naphthalene, and toluene are released into the air from the particle boards and carpets. These toxins, breathed in by patients and hospital staff, have been correlated to longer patient recovery times and more sick days for staff. The inadequate ventilation found in most hospitals also contributes to the poor indoor air quality and pollution. The production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), widely used in the production of IV bags, plastic tubing, and other health care supplies, releases the carcinogen dioxin, which has been associated with a number of other health problems, including developmental defects, endometriosis, learning disabilities, and endocrine disorders. Mercury – a component of thermometers, blood pressure cuffs, and other supplies – is widely found in hospital waste released into the air and water. Other chemicals used to clean and maintain hospitals add additional toxins to the environment.

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Project green hospitals

  1. 1. 1 Project: Green Hospitals By Mahboob ali Khan Help reduce long-term energy consumption while improving the health of patients and the community! Patient health, community health, and environmental health are all negatively affected by multiple aspects of hospital construction, design, and maintenance. Increasing numbers of studies have found correlations between the materials used in hospitals and human disease. For instance, volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, naphthalene, and toluene are released into the air from the particle boards and carpets. These toxins, breathed in by patients and hospital staff, have been correlated to longer patient recovery times and more sick days for staff. The inadequate ventilation found in most hospitals also contributes to the poor indoor air quality and pollution. The production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), widely used in the production of IV bags, plastic tubing, and other health care supplies, releases the carcinogen dioxin, which has been associated with a number of other health problems, including developmental defects, endometriosis, learning disabilities, and endocrine disorders. Mercury – a component of thermometers, blood pressure cuffs, and other supplies – is widely found in hospital waste released into the air and water. Other chemicals used to clean and maintain hospitals add additional toxins to the environment. The green hospital movement began a few years ago following the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)’s release of their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards for building construction. Although initial construction costs are higher, green hospitals have been shown to reduce long-term energy costs. In addition, there is a growing consensus among the health care profession that pollutants generated by medical facilities must be reduced. Moreover, green hospital design has been linked to better patient outcomes and staff retention. In the past few years, a number of newly constructed and renovated hospital buildings have strived for and received LEED certification. Boulder Community Hospital (CO), the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh (PA), and Providence Newberg Medical Center (OR) are among the nation’s hospitals that have already achieved LEED certification. Many other hospitals will be striving for LEED certification for their newly constructed facilities. How to get started:
  2. 2. 2 1. Find out if any hospitals in your community are planning to remodel or construct new facilities. Find out which individuals and/or hospital board members are planning/overseeing the new construction/remodeling. 2. Put together a PowerPoint presentation highlighting the benefits of green hospital construction. For references, please see http://www.noharm.org/us/healthyBuilding/GGHCMediaResources. In your presentation, explain the criteria for LEED certification (http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CategoryID=19). Customize your presentation by talking about why green hospital construction would benefit your specific community! 3. Meet with local environment leaders, e.g. local green building coalition, to ask for suggestions, collaboration, and other assistance. 4. Meet with members of the hospital board of trustees, including the CEO if possible, to discuss the benefits of green hospitals. If the hospital administrators appear receptive to the idea of green hospital construction, tell them about LEED certification. If appropriate, try to secure their commitment to a certain level of LEED certification for the new building. 5. Print “postcard petitions” to demonstrate community support (www.vistaprint.com). Collect signatures and send these “postcard petitions” to the CEO and/or trustees of the hospital. Make sure the postcards state specific goals, such as obtaining LEED Gold Certification. Please see the example below: 6. Write an editorial about green hospitals to your local paper. Please see the example below: I am writing to voice my support for the Gold LEED certification of the new cancer center of University Hospitals. As a physician in the University Hospitals system, it is my belief that our commitment to the health of our patients includes not only our work within the hospital, but also the maintenance of a healthy environment for those we serve in the Cleveland area. With the addition of our new building, we have an opportunity to stand out as a leader in the community on this issue and to provide a model of green building for area businesses to follow into the future.
  3. 3. 3 The Gold LEED certification building requirements include specific commitments to minimize the use of resources, maximize energy efficiency and release minimal waste into the surrounding environment. The specifications to be met include criteria that fall under the following categories: Sustainability of the Site Water Efficiency Energy and Atmosphere Materials and Resources Indoor Environmental Quality Innovation in Design Designing our cancer center according to these requirements would not only fulfill our obligation to the Cleveland area as an environmentally friendly neighbor, but would also offer many economic advantages that would serve the hospital well into the future. With reduced expenditures on energy, water, and waste production the hospital would have great potential to reduce our operating costs. In addition, building a hospital to the Gold LEED certification standards ensures our membership in a group of elite hospitals taking a leadership role nationally on this issue. Other top medical centers that have recently committed to building green include the University of Michigan’s Mott Children’s Hospital, Beth Israel Medical Center, Mt. Sinai Medical Center, Providence Newburg Hospital, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and Emory Hospital’s Winship Cancer Institute. It is of the utmost importance that the University Hospitals of Cleveland demonstrate the same commitment to the health of its own community. 7. Refer to the following websites for additional information: Health Care without Harm: http://www.noharm.org Hospitals for a Healthy Environment: http://www.h2e-online.org/ 8. For more information, please contact Mahboob ali khan (mahboob804@yahoo.co.in) who are leading a green hospital campaign in Hyderabad India.

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