LifeBridge Health (LBH) has developed a comprehensive environmental management and sustainability program. Starting with a waste reduction program, LBH performed waste stream assessments and reconfigured the waste flow through its facilities, and provided extensive staff in-service training. As a result, LBH has seen significant reductions in the amount of regulated medical waste (RMW) generated and increases in recycling. LBH now has corporate-wide waste management policies. In FY 08, RMW was 29% of LBH’s total waste stream, while municipal solid waste was 63% and recyclables were at 8%. In FY 09, RMW had been reduced to a combined 12%, with municipal solid waste being 75% and recyclables climbing to 13% and rising.
To limit the use of chemical pesticides, LBH is a member of the Maryland Pesticide Network (MPN) and participates in the Integrated Pest Management in Health Care Facilities Project. Accordingly, any chemical pesticide used throughout LBH Health facilities must receive explicit approval by the Vice President of Facilities beforehand. Otherwise, preventive maintenance is performed, primarily in the form of sealing potential entrances for pests.
To increase the organization’s use of reusable materials and decrease use of disposables, the materials management department has introduced language into vendor contracts regarding green practices. Certain items can be sent back to their manufacturer for reprocessing, such as pulse oximeters from Massimo. LBH has also instituted a policy to hold all office supply orders below $50 in an effort to stem fuel use for unnecessary deliveries and the amount of packaging entering the facility.
Food and Nutrition has a dual system in place to minimize the environmental impact of food waste. Food scraps left over from preparation as well as leftover pans from meal service are weighed and recorded via the Value Waste system that Aramark oversees. The goal is to predict the amount of food needed for future meals more accurately. After being weighed, all food waste is composted. In the kitchen, fryer oil is recycled, as well as metal, plastic and glass.
LifeBridge Health is the 1st Health System in Maryland, and Sinai was the first hospital in Maryland, to sign the Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge. Sinai stocks local produce when possible, offers fair trade and certified organic coffee blends, and for carry-out service, introduced reusable bags that staff and visitors can purchase. Additionally, Sinai switched from plastic cold beverage cups to a compostable corn starch-based alternative. In 2008, Sinai composted over 65,000 pounds of food waste and other compostable products.
LBH recently opened a new atrium at Sinai and are in the final stages of constructing a new patient tower, both of which include green features. The LEED-NC checklist was consulted for guidance, although not with the primary goal of achieving certification.
At Northwest Hospital, LBH installed a new bi-fuel generator which runs on a combination of diesel and natural gas. This has cut fuel consumption for that unit from 77 gallons of fuel per hour to 31 gallons – a reduction of 60%. It has also reduced that facility’s carbon footprint by 20%. Other improvements to water and energy efficiency include replacing toilets with automatic water efficient units, installing automatic sinks in all new construction areas, and switching from incandescent to compact fluorescent light bulbs. The award-winning energy policy paved the way for LBH to save nearly $400,000 last year.
LBH has provided information and educational resources about energy reduction at work and at home during campus services fairs. The monthly newsletter, ‘the Bridge,’ has added a new ‘green corner’ feature, to share news about green programs and innovations from different departments.
Contact: Lionel Weeks, Vice President, Facilities, firstname.lastname@example.org