由 Nancy Ryerson
, Staff Writer | January 31, 2014
From the January 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
Barry Cik founded Naturepedic 10 years ago, after feeling disturbed by the chemical-laden options he found when shopping for a crib mattress for his granddaughter. The mattresses he designed are made of organic materials and don’t contain any chemicals. Organic materials, for example organic cotton, are relatively nonflammable as is, and the mattresses comply with all government and hospital flammability guidelines without the need for flame retardant chemicals. The mattresses are used in more than 100 hospitals, including the Cleveland Clinic NICU unit.
“The best advice is to avoid falling prey to manufacturer ‘greenwashing,’” says Cik. “Greenwashing means creating the impression that a product is "greener" or more sustainable or otherwise uses safer ingredients, when, in fact, any improvements to
the product are minimal, if not illusionary.” Cik suggests buying certified organic whenever possible to best avoid “greenwashed” products.
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Sustainable capital equipment
Siemens Ecoline, GE Healthcare’s Gold Seal Program, Toshiba’s Secondlife and Philips’ Diamond Select
Capital equipment is very expensive, but like anything else, ends up in a landfill if it’s not recycled.
Buying refurbished equipment allows hospitals to save money and reduce CO2 output — Siemens Ecoline, for example, estimates that its refurbished line saves 20,000 tons of CO2 a year. Each of the largest OEMs have refurbished equipment programs that offer a wide range of modalities. And buying used isn’t just for small hospitals with limited budgets anymore. “Ecoline is now sold in all market segments, from outpatient imaging centers to community hospitals to large and teaching hospitals,” says Siemens Refurbished Systems VP Sabine Duffy-Sandstrom. “Previously, Ecoline was primarily sold to outpatient imaging centers and small hospitals.”
The average hospital in the U.S. uses about as much energy in a single year as 3,500 households, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Hospitals also use around 2.5 times as much energy as the average office building.
Many hospitals interested in reducing their footprint seek Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, a green building program that started in 1998. And being “green” doesn’t have to be expensive — a recent study conducted by the architecture firm Perkins+Will found that costs associated with LEED add only around 1 percent to a hospital’s capital costs.