Friday, April 20, 2007

Green Regs and Ham

The Making of a Green Hospital (cont. from 3/30)

As the Green Committee moved forward with the recycling plan, the committee head continued to stress “budget neutral.” In other words, the environmental initiatives of this huge metropolitan hospital had no funding. Everything that we do has to cost nothing…Hmm… That seems impractical right? Well the truth of the matter is that remaining budget neutral is not only possible but almost guaranteed. Sure some projects are likely to incur expenses, but many of our proposed changes would save the hospital bundles of money. For example, money can be made from the resale of paper and corrugated cardboard, while the reduced mass of outgoing trash would reduce waste hauling costs. Probably the easiest way to save money through environmental initiatives is through reduction of energy consumption. We all know how expensive it is to heat our house and provide electricity. These costs continue to rise annually and are a growing burden on our hospital’s profitability.

With these opportunities to save money, why is the committee so concerned with remaining budget neutral? Well, it turns out that the hospital has no central location to process recyclable material and trash. Particularly, a large amount of space is necessary for the sorting and storage of material awaiting pickup. With no such location available, the adoption of a cost effective, comprehensive recycling program will be impossible. If waste haulers must make multiple stops, it will cost the hospital money. If adequate sorting and storage of material is not available, loads of material may become tainted and lead to increased cost. Such a space problem can only be rectified through changes to the facility through new construction. It looked as if our committee would have to expand to include individuals involved in planning and development of the hospital campus. My first thought was that recruiting this new committee member would kill two birds with one stone. We could deal with the recycling issue and simultaneously establish some green building codes. Is it possible that this new member will be receptive to my plans for green building initiatives? Stay tuned for the next installment in 2 weeks.

1 comment:

Miss Midwesterly said...

Now I'm really curious to see how you are going to pull this off!