Image via: Vernacare
Yep, biodegradable bed pans are just one thing that hospitals can add to their repertoire to not only green the building but keep you healthy when you're feeling less than stellar. Okay so biodegradable bed pans are neither here nor there when it comes to your health, but seeing as hospitals have quite a large waste stream (not much that you can just trash when it comes to contaminated objects), this is one more way to keep what they can out of local landfills. Carol Ann Campbell, in an article in New Jersey Magazine, gives a few more hints on why these energy-intensive, cash strapped buildings are looking at making green, healthy hospitals.So biodegradable bed pans, eh? Yep, the pans (and liners) are made from recycled telephone books and beeswax and you can just "dump them down the drain when you are done with them." The best part, is that they are not metallic, meaning that they are not cold on a patient's tooshy. Vernacare, out of Toronto, CA, is one manufacturer of these pans.
New Jersey Hospitals Going Green
Hospitals across New Jersey are adding things like "vegetative roofs, solar panels, cogeneration units, giant sun-deflecting louvers, [and] non-toxic paints" to their green repertoire to both improve the indoor health of these old buildings, as well as improve the mental health of patients and cut down on electric bills.
The new Princeton University Medical Center, currently under construction and costing an estimated $442 million USD, is demonstrating the latest in green. The building faces south to maximize passive solar, rooms come with sensors to dim lights in favor of natural lighting and panels on the side of the building reduce heating/cooling bills. In addition to electric bills, the hospital also improves the wellbeing of patients by creating a 32 acre park around the hospital - including bike and walk paths and restoring the Millstone River. All plants chosen are indigenous and have low-water needs so there will be no need for insecticides and other pesticides. In addition, the building will have a rainwater collection system and solar panels. Estimated to meet completion in 2011, the hospital is almost 10 years in the making. The Virtua Hospital in Voorhies, NJ, also estimated to be completed in 2011 is also utilizing green aspects like a 40-acre wetland, and choosing all locally-produced materials for the building.
Hospitals As Giant Energy Wasters
Do these changes actually make any difference? The answer is simply yes. While green changes (actually upgrades of any kind) do cost money, the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital spends an average of $20 million USD annually on utilities. So cooling off the roof with a green roof, supplementing electricity usage with solar panels or wind power or using natural light in favor of running lights 24/7 can add up over time.
Green Upgrades to New Jersey Hospitals
The Hackensack University Medical Center added blue jean insulation (117,000 pairs), all wood work is formaldehyde free and all steel is from recycled parts and pieces. The related Cancer Center is utilizing US Green Building Council standards and include a rooftop garden. Using non-toxic cleaning products seems like a no-brainer for a hospital, but is just one more way that the building can be healthy, clean and green.
Thanks Tipster Martha! :New Jersey Magazine:Vernacare
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