St. David's HealthCare Announces Enhanced Sustainability Initiative
AUSTIN, Texas—St. David’s HealthCare today announced a multi-faceted green effort, including the development of a system-wide Sustainability Committee; membership in Practice Greenhealth, a leading group of healthcare organizations committed to eco-friendly practices; and participation in the development of the City of Austin’s Universal Recycling Ordinance.
A study by the University of Chicago Hospital that was published in JAMA in December 2009 found that the American healthcare sector accounts for 8 percent of the U.S. carbon footprint. The analysis found that hospitals are the largest contributor of carbon emissions in the healthcare sector.
“Environmentally conscious behavior is not new to St. David’s HealthCare; we have worked for years to reduce, reuse and recycle,” Malcolm Belisle, vice president corporate services, St. David’s HealthCare, said.
Between 2008 and 2010, St. David’s HealthCare saved approximately 8 percent of total kilowatt energy through the use of energy-efficient equipment and more efficient energy management. During the same time frame, St. David’s HealthCare’s water consumption decreased 13 percent and wastewater decreased 15 percent.
“With this new initiative, we are increasing our efforts so that we may create a true culture of sustainability throughout our organization and serve as a change agent in the healthcare industry,” Belisle said.
St. David’s HealthCare’s Sustainability Committee will coordinate efforts to reduce resource use and improve environmental health and patient safety. Each St. David’s HealthCare facility will have a “Sustainability Coordinator” to lead local efforts, including purchasing more sustainable products, reducing energy and water consumption, increasing recycling efforts and minimizing waste generated.
In addition, St. David’s HealthCare has joined Practice Greenhealth, a group of healthcare organizations committed to eco-friendly practices. As a member, St. David’s HealthCare commits to the virtual elimination of mercury, reduction of waste, minimization of hazardous chemicals, reduction of its environmental footprint, and integrating sustainable design and building techniques with environmentally sound operational practices to create true healing environments.
St. David’s HealthCare is an active participant in the development of the City of Austin’s Universal Recycling Ordinance. The new ordinance, which goes into effect October 1, 2012, will affect all commercial and multi-family properties in Austin. The city is encouraging businesses to take part in the process by attending regular meetings and participating in the discussion around key ordinance concepts. St. David’s HealthCare is the only participating hospital system.
Finally, St. David’s Healthcare is pleased to announce the selection of Stericycle as its partner for sustainable strategies and an environmentally focused program. For example, Stericycle will work with St. David’s HealthCare facilities to reduce regulated medical waste and solid waste. The company has also led the charge in helping St. David’s HealthCare to become the first Austin-area hospital system to use reusable sharps containers (a container that is filled with used medical needles and other sharp medical instruments).
Combined, St. David’s HealthCare hospitals currently plan to annually divert 136,549 pounds of carbon by not sending 230,133 pounds of plastic and 17,778 pounds of cardboard to local landfills. The CO2 diverted is equivalent to not burning 6,981 gallons of gasoline and 2,582 propane tanks for home barbecues.
St. David’s HealthCare
With more than 60 sites across Central Texas, St. David’s HealthCare includes seven of the area’s leading hospitals and is one of the largest health systems in Texas. Known for compassionate, high-quality care, the organization has been recognized with the Texas Award for Performance Excellence, the highest honor bestowed by the State of Texas based upon world-class quality measures. Ranked as one of the Top Workplaces in 2010 by the Austin American-Statesman—as well as the top Austin-area employer among large companies at the Austin Business Journal’s annual “Best Places to Work” event in 2007, 2008 and 2009—St. David’s HealthCare has more than 7,100 employees. For more information, please visit StDavids.com.