Green is the new color for many of HHC’s new modern healthcare facilities being built or modernized as part of the five-year $1.3 billion capital program to renovate and replace aging buildings. Energy conservation, water consumption and environmentally friendly building materials are being adopted into new construction and design across the system.
"Adopting green principles through better design, construction, operation, maintenance, and demolition -- the complete building life cycle -- ultimately reduces the negative impact on human health and our environment," said Phillip Robinson, Senior Vice President for Facilities Development.
Electricity is the most consumed utility in healthcare facilities, and lighting accounts for most of that usage. To reduce lighting consumption, HHC is using high-efficiency fluorescents, room occupancy sensors that turn off the lights in unoccupied rooms and sensors that turn off exterior lights during daylight hours. Water pumps and ventilation system fans also use a lot of energy, so variable speed motors have been installed to improve their energy efficiency. Underground oil storage tanks are being replaced by double-wall models to provide extra insurance against leakage into ground water, and green cleaning products that use less harmful chemicals like phosphates and chlorine are also being adopted by many HHC facilities.
Other HHC Green Building projects include:
- High-efficiency toilets
- No-flush urinals
- Low-flow faucets
- High-efficiency lighting
- Comprehensive redesign and refitting of existing heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to decrease energy use and improve efficiency.
- Water-efficient, low-flow equipment installed in kitchens and bathrooms to reduce water consumption
- Replacement of aging window air conditioning units with central cooling systems
The building upgrades and new "green" designs support extensive staff education to encourage ongoing reduction in energy use, and reminders that equipment such as computers, copy machines and window AC’s should be turned off when not in use.
"With the ever-rising cost of energy, green design can ultimately save money for our hospitals, leaving more funds to invest in patient care," added Robinson. "Since green design also means cleaner air and water, it's really a win-win proposition for HHC."