Our Lady of Lourdes Focuses on Environmental Health with Hospital-Wide Green Initiative
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
As more hospitals think of new ways to reduce their environmental footprint, Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center is supporting the sustainability trend by focusing its efforts on creating a healthier, greener environment with the implementation of innovative earth-friendly hospital initiatives.
Tomorrow, Lourdes' Green Team, the committee dedicated to creating more environmentally-conscious processes within the health system's two medical facilities -- Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center and Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County -- will hold an informational kickoff at its hospital in Camden to raise greater awareness among hospital staff, patients and visitors.
Since fall 2011, the Green Team has been passionately working towards coordinating the many recycling and waste management initiatives around the health system. While the majority of the green efforts are first being piloted at the medical center in Camden, the initiatives will eventually extend to include the entire Lourdes Health System.
"Lourdes is proud to take these steps to become a more environmentally-conscious health system," said Alexander J. Hatala, President and CEO for Lourdes Health System. "Our staff is passionate about the well-being of its patients, and it is clear from the outpouring of support that this passion extends to the care of our environment, as well.
Leading the green movement for Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center has been the food and nutrition and environmental services departments. For example, Food and Nutrition weighs food not consumed to better manage ordering and meal planning, resulting in savings over $100,000 throughout the course of two years and leading to less food waste placed landfills. Through the use of a pulpier and hydra extractor to separate solid food waste from patient trays, the amount of trash poundage headed to a landfill is reduced by 80 percent. Additionally, left over fryer grease is sold and converted into earth-friendly biofuel, and a special composting machine turns up to 36 tons of solid food waste annually into a soil additive, which is given to the Camden Children's Garden (www.camdenchildrensgarden.org).
"We have a responsibility," said George Cranmer, Food and Nutrition Director at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center. "We serve thousands of meals a day. Part of our job is to make sure there's a level of sustainability and that we are being conscious of our environment. Through utilizing local produce instead of items shipped from great distances, using reusable cups and plates and having smarter food waste reduction methods in place, together with Environmental Services, we are reducing our carbon footprint on the environment."
Lourdes Environmental Services has installed eco-friendly motion-sensor lights in all storage rooms and offices within the department and throughout many places in the hospital to help save on electric, as well as conducting monthly waste audits to monitor proper waste segregation and compliance. In addition, energy and environmentally friendly equipment has replaced those that are less efficient.
For example, microfiber mops that use greener chemicals and require less water are now being used, saving dramatic amounts of gallons of water per day. Environmental Services is also reducing the amount of regulated medical waste generated by the hospitals by educating staff, patients and visitors on what belongs where. To simplify things, Lourdes has color coded the trash with medical waste such as blood bags and tubing belonging in red bags only and all other waste disposed of in clear bags.
"At Lourdes, our care of the community extends beyond medicine. We are also stewards of the environment, focused on protecting our natural resources," said Lisa Ford, Environmental Services Director for Lourdes Health System. "Our hospital-wide recycling program is symbolic of our genuine commitment to becoming a more sustainable organization."
In 2011, Lourdes Health System finished completing a $1.69 million renovation of the System's two hospitals in an effort to reduce its carbon footprint and drive down energy costs. This major overhaul was a part of PSE&G's Hospital Efficiency Program, a $79 million endeavor which benefited 19 hospitals across the utility's service territory and targeted hospitals with the greatest need.
Renovations to Lourdes' two hospitals included the installation of new energy efficient boilers, a continuous blow down heat recovery system, approximately 40 premium efficiency motors, the replacement of several HVACs and an upgrade to the building management system. Energy savings from this project alone average around $190,000 a year.
For media inquiries, please contact Lauren Markin at Markinl@lourdesnet.org or (856) 705-1375.