Hospitals go green

Despite the fact that hospitals are good for our health, they’re not so great for the environment. They suck up energy around the clock, throw off biological waste and let off harmful chemicals and toxins into the air. But in the midst of a building boom to update and expand older facilities, hospitals are focusing on more than just providing private rooms and the most up-to-date technology. Many projects are using eco-friendly tactics to cut down on pollution. Currently, 180 existing or planned medical facilities will feature “green” designs. This includes solar panels to decrease energy usage, carpets made of recycled materials, water-saving toilets and construction that takes advantage of the sun’s natural heating power to reduce energy costs.

Many hospitals are already strapped for cash and “green” changes may cost more up-front. However, the long-term savings--both monetary and environmental--add up in the long run. “Studies show that environmental improvements associated with sustainable buildings, such as bringing in more natural daylight, meditation areas and ‘healing gardens,’ can shorten patients' length of stay, reduce reliance on medication, and lessen mental and physical stress,” notes The Wall Street Journal.

For more on the green trend: - read this Wall Street Journal article (sub. req.)