Hospitals make slow progress toward sustainability

Survey shows hospitals say that environmental sustainability is important, but are at varying stages of initiatives

By Healthcare Facilities Today
September 9, 2013

The move toward more environmentally sustainable facilities in the hospital sector isn’t a race but more of a crawl, according to results of the 2013 Health Facilities Management survey, conducted in cooperation with the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) and the Association for the Healthcare Environment (AHE) and designed to provide a look at the state of sustainability in healthcare facilities.

An article in the July 2013 issue of the publication examines the results of this survey, noting that while the “overwhelming majority” of hospitals responding note that environmental sustainability is important, they also are at varying stages of sustainability initiatives within their facility. Respondents came from a random sample of 4,660 hospital executives.

The survey reveals that overall growth toward sustainability is slow. While some initiatives showed an increase, the article notes that most of the 2013 survey results remained consistent with those of the previous survey conducted in 2010. The survey also covers what hospitals aren’t doing – most prominently, tracking performance metrics in such areas as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) EnergyStar ratings, total waste generation or recycling rates. There was very little increase in activity in this area over the past three years since the last survey.

As the article stresses, the slow progress toward greater sustainability initiatives in hospitals comes down to costs and funding – the primary roadblocks. Tight budgets and a sluggish economy create competing priorities, which then plays a role in hindering rapid progress. Hospitals have crucial choices to make, and many supersede sustainability.

Read the article.


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