The healthcare sector has a large environmental footprint. Hospitals are the second most energy intensive buildings in the United States, using 836 trillion Btu of energy annually and generating significant greenhouse gas emissions. Healthcare facilities are also significant consumers of water, and create 6,600 tons of waste per day.
Iowa Health - Des Moines and our Go-to-Green Team have been working hard to offset the environmental impact of our operations though a variety of recycling and waste reduction initiatives. As a result of our efforts, Iowa Health - Des Moines was honored with a "Partner Recognition" Award by Practice Greenhealth, a national membership organization for healthcare facilities committed to environmentally responsible operations. The award is one of the organization's Environmental Excellence Awards given each year to honor outstanding environmental achievements in the healthcare sector.
"Iowa Health - Des Moines has been singled out for their efforts to protect patient health and preserve the environment," said Anna Gilmore Hall, Executive Director of Practice Greenhealth. "Their approach to healthcare demonstrates a keen understanding of the impact our activities have on the environment and a commitments to build on the achievements they have made so far."
Iowa Health - Des Moines also recently received a grant from the Iowa Offi ce of Energy Independence to further reduce our carbon footprint by installing more energy efficient equipment for plan operations. This grant will aid in energy savings by replacing two boilers at Iowa Lutheran as well as a chiller at Iowa Methodist. The grant will allow us to not only further sustainable practices - accomplishments we can all take pride in - but also help to reduce the cost of healthcare for our community. These projects are part of a comprehensive five-year energy reduction plan we are developing with engineering firm Energy Services Group (ESG). These first projects will save more than $86,000 per year, and the plan as a whole is expected to reduce our energy use by 30-35 percent.
A special thank you to Gary Gibson, Iowa Health Plant Operations and Maintenance Manager, for all of his work on this important project. To further improve our sustainable practices, we will continue work with ESG to review and assess a variety of areas that could benefit from increased efficiency including indoor air quality, water quality and light usage.
"Our commitment to improving the health of our communities extends beyond patient care to conducting business for the benefit of the community by reducing, reusing, recycling and recovering within the healthcare environment," said Cheryl Lounsberry, co-chair of the Iowa Health Go-to Green Team.