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The total savings to the healthcare sector, if it adopted more environmentally sustainable operations, could exceed $5.4 billion over five years, and $15 billion over 10 years, according to a Health Care Research Collaborative study.
Of the over 53,000 facilities using the EPA Energy Star's Portfolio Manager to track water use as of June 2012, 960 are hospitals, according to an EPA Data Trends report. In addition, 840 medical offices were tracking water use. By comparison, as of December 2011, 4,860 hospitals were using Portfolio Manager to benchmark energy use.
With water and sewer utility rates rising between 5 and 10 percent every year in many parts of the United States, investments in water conservation practices could lead to substantial savings for healthcare facilities.
Can sustainable healthcare facility construction and operation practices save more than $5 billion over the next 5 years? And if so, why aren't more facilities adopting sustainable efforts?
Reducing energy consumption is one of the most important duties of healthcare sustainability professionals, but it isn't the only job they are doing in the modern healthcare environment.
According to a December 2012 article in Health Facilities Management magazine, key players involved in healthcare facilities say hospitals are in a prime position within the next five years to make sustainability part of their mission and business plan.