Tag Archives: 3M Healthcare Sustainability Summit

Nov 4, 2016

4 Reasons to Build a Healthier Hospital

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About the author: Iqbal Mian manages a portfolio of health care members and develops content and resources on energy conservation, quality and other topics. He spoke at the recent 3M Sustainability in Health Care Summit, an annual event that brings together thought leaders to share best practices and help attendees identify new ways to secure economic, social and environmental benefits from sustainability programs.

3M Sustainability in Health Care Summit

3M Sustainability in Health Care Summit

The Healthier Hospitals Initiative encourages hospitals to build a more sustainable business model to help reduce the environmental impacts of the health care industry.

Healthier Hospitals initiatives typically encompass:

  • Generating less waste.
  • Reducing the use of energy, and water and other natural resources.
  • Avoiding environmental harm from substances including chemicals.
  • Instituting practices such as sourcing sustainable food.

In addition to promoting health care sustainability, a Healthier Hospital yields other benefits for patients, clinicians and health care leadership.

Greater efficiency

The average hospital generates 29 pounds of waste per staffed bed per day1 contributing to a whopping total of 5.9 million tons of waste per year.1 Because waste has to go somewhere, reducing waste and ramping up recycling benefit not only the hospital, but the community the hospital serves. Recycling can even have a pay-off: Beaumont collected $866,000 in recycling rebates by diverting 13 million pounds of waste from landfills over a 5-year period.3

Responsible disposal can also contribute to community health by helping avoid impact on natural resources, for example, the introduction of pharmaceuticals into drinking water.2

Expense reduction

Hospitals use 2.5 times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings, for an annual combined energy spend of $8.5 billion.Increasing efficiencies in areas like heating, lighting and water use yield expense savings and decrease a hospital’s environmental footprint.

Even obvious changes, such as swapping out light fixtures, can have a significant impact. By replacing light fixtures, Tenet was able to decrease energy consumption at one system hospital by 57%.5

Hospitals are also high water users. The average hospital uses 250,000–700,000 gallons per bed per year. Reducing water usage reduces utility costs, including the energy and wastewater treatment cost associated with water use. Targeted initiatives, like reducing laundry, are a good place to start. Through laundry efficiencies, Intermountain Healthcare was able to conserve 17 million gallons of water.6

Healthier conditions for patients and clinicians

Chemical exposure has been linked to a range of health problems, yet more chemicals are used in health care than in any other sector.7 Switching to safer chemicals, including green cleaning options, means less chemical exposure for both patients and health care workers.

Support for healthy behaviors

Other Healthier Hospital initiatives such as a sustainable food program contribute to health care sustainability. Sourcing locally and sustainability grown food, and changing the quality and quantity of meat served can contribute to healthier meals. And because diet is linked to numerous health conditions, serving healthier meals helps improve the health of patients — as well as health care workers who eat at the hospital.

Sustainable food also serves another purpose: antimicrobial stewardship. 80% of all antibiotics consumed in the U.S. are fed to livestock, a factor that’s contributed to antibiotic resistance. Sustainable options can help reverse that trend.8

Take the Sustainability in Hospitals webinar at 3M Health Care Academy to learn the basics of establishing a healthy hospital program.


Practice Greenhealth, Less Waste. Accessed August 31, 2016. https://practicegreenhealth.org/topics/less-waste

World Health Organization. Water Sanitation Health. Accessed August 31, 2016. http:// http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/pharmaceuticals-in-drinking-water/en/

3 Beaumont. Sustainability Report. 2015.

4 Gerwig, Kathy. Greening Health Care: How Hospitals Can Heal the Planet. Oxford University Press, August 2014.

5 Tenet. Sustainability Report. 2014.

6 Intermountain Healthcare. Sustainability Report. 2014.

7 Healthier Hospitals Initiative. Safer Chemicals. Accessed August 31, 2016. http://healthierhospitals.org/hhi-challenges/safer-chemicals.

8 Healthier Hospitals Initiative. Healthier Food. Accessed August 31, 2016. http://healthierhospitals.org/hhi-challenges/healthier-food.

Nov 3, 2015

Sharing new ideas in health care sustainability

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3M Healthcare Sustainability Summit Speakers

Watch the recorded seminar

On October 16, thought leaders from across the country came together at the 3M Sustainability in Health Care Summit to share best practices and to advance Sustainability in health care.  Participants heard inspiring talks from a broad range of Sustainability experts including individuals from Kaiser Permanente, Gundersen Health, Practice Greenhealth, the Army Medical Command, and many more.

Kathy Gerwig, VP Employee Safety, Health and Wellness, and Environmental Stewardship Officer for Kaiser Permanente, was the keynote speaker for the event.  Kathy reminded the audience that health care contributes 8% of the GHG footprint in the US and this footprint negatively impacts our health.  Other speakers covered a broad range of topics including

  • Waste Management
  • Energy Conservation
  • Water Conservation
  • Organizational Engagement
  • Using Policy as a Tool
  • Prevention/Data Analytics
  • Sustainable Community

During these talks, attendees were able to identify practical sustainable strategies that could be leveraged to drive environmental, economic, and social sustainability benefits in the rapidly changing health care environment.  Summit participants were also able to attend an optional Sustainable Product Fair that showcased 3M products with an environmental Sustainability Advantage.  Attendees were exposed to everything from products that contribute toward LEED certification to medical devices made without chemicals of concern.

Overall, everyone left the Summit with new ideas to enhance their Sustainability programs!  Read more details about the individual talks, or watch the recorded event.

Sep 17, 2015

Hospital Sustainability Creates Avenues for Efficiencies

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Hospital sustainability creates avenues for efficiencies, improvements in patient care, and reductions in waste. Pick any hospital and you’ll find it’s one of the more vibrant, busy, multi-dynamically functioning buildings in the community. One difference that separates a hospital from any other office building is consumption. According the U.S. Department of Energy, hospitals are 2.5 times more energy intensive than other commercial buildings.1   Hospitals also generate enormous amounts of waste and are often one of the biggest users of water in a community.2,3

Unfortunately, many people look at sustainability as just another program. It’s time to shift this perception and consider sustainability as a way of thinking, not a separate objective. If Health Care facilities integrate sustainability into their normal processes then sustainability will flourish.   But how do hospital sustainability leaders create this shift? This is when external collaboration can be used to share ideas to help overcome challenges. While energy, compliance, waste, and procurement costs continue to rise against the constant pressure to cut costs, sustainability offers solutions that can create cost savings while benefitting the environment.

Hospital Sustainability Summit
3M Health Care has assembled a panel of sustainability experts who will share up-to-date information and strategies at our inaugural 3M Sustainability in Health Care Summit on October 16 at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, MN.
These sustainability thought leaders will articulate issues and solutions specific to hospitals and health care facilities. Here is a sneak peek at the agenda:

  • The Role of Sustainability in Health Care – Kathy Gerwig, VP Employee Safety, Health & Wellness and Environmental Stewardship Officer at Kaiser Permanente
  • Successful Organizational Engagement in Health Care Sustainability – Janet Howard, Director, Member Engagement  – Practice Greenhealth
  • Reducing Hospital Energy Cost – Mark Platt, Senior VP of Business Service – Gundersen Health
  • Environmentally Preferred Purchasing – Jackie Leveille, Director of Environmental Services – Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Legislative & Regulatory Levers to Advance Sustainability – Rachelle Reyes Wenger, Director Public Policy & Community Advocacy – Dignity Health
  • A Sustainable Community: Accessibility to Health Care – Steve Bergstrom, Sustainability Director – Intermountain Medical
  • Water Conservation – Kathy LaHaye and LTC Ross Davidson, Army Medical Command
  • Minnesota RARE Program: Data Analytics for Sustainable Outcomes – Kathy Cummings, Project Manager – Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement
  • Hospital Waste Management – Mike Geller, Sustainability Manager – Providence

Join us at the 3M Innovation Center for this free event! Participants will also have many opportunities to network and build relationships with top IDN Executives and 3M Sustainability Leaders. Fortify your own leadership skills and form new ideas to build a comprehensive sustainability plan. Please register today!  Space is limited.


1 http://www.sustainabilityroadmap.org/resources/#.VfmHDNJVhBc

2 https://practicegreenhealth.org/topics/waste

3 http://www.energystar.gov/sites/default/files/buildings/tools/DataTrends_Water_20121002.pdf