Going green is a shift that allows us to refocus our attitudes towards our environment. Sustainability is about nature, conserving what precious material and life we have, and awareness of the actions on our overall impact on the planet. In the healthcare industry specifically, the need to be environmentally conscious is important because of the amount of resources it consumes and the waste and emissions it generates. Whether you’re trying to be green in your existing space or planning to build one in the future, we invite you to read on as we list down the four ways you can do the green shift in your medical space.
Eco-Friendly Medical Supplies
Before going into the medical space themselves, there are ways to start “greening” your practice right now. Shifting to eco-friendly medical supplies — especially with disposable items like exam table papers, tissues or any paper-based materials — is a good start. When it comes to paper products, the pressure to create paper from virgin pulp, or paper with no recycled material, is a huge cause of deforestation. We suggest looking out for products with a Recycled Paper Pulp of at least 50%; the greater the number, even better! Fabrics such as those for hospital gowns, towels, and pillowcases can be made from recycled fibers and can be rewashed and sanitized for re-use.
Eco-Friendly Interior Finishes
The interior finishes that we put in our walls, floors, and ceilings contribute to the overall health and quality of our medical spaces. For example, read more about how finishes can improve air quality here. Going green goes beyond removing harmful chemicals from paint formulas; going green goes as far back as the sourcing and manufacturing processes. Be aware of where wood comes from or how much energy goes into crafting each material; this is the very definition of being eco-conscious.
An eco-friendly workspace does not have to sacrifice design intention. Thankfully, because the demand for eco-friendly choices has risen over the years, there now is a wide range of choices for sustainable interior finishes that does not compromise style. Learn more about how the following suppliers’ products and practices take environment into consideration while developing their products:
- Maharam Wallpaper: https://www.maharam.com/company/environmental_position
- Dunn-Edwards Paint: https://www.dunnedwards.com/about/environment
Whether recycled or sustainably harvested raw materials, focus on manufacturing practices that reduce the energy consumption and waste, going green demands to these suppliers that the entire process is responsible throughout. These two vendors are meant for you to educate yourself on what to look for with your suppliers should you decide to go green. How do they stock-up against each other and what environmentally-friendly processes they have in place and how it best benefits you.
Eco-Friendly Interior Products
Finishing your space with fixtures that fit eco-friendly standards is the final step to creating a truly green Medical Space. Choosing your fittings wisely can not only score points for your brand but spell actual savings to your operating expenses. Remember that being environmentally conscious also is shown in how best you moderate consumption of resources like power or water and making sure that they will not be wasted.
- Lights – Choose LED bulbs and fixtures. They reduce consumption and they don’t heat as much as old incandescent do. They come in a range of wattages and color temperatures (read more about improving your space with lighting here) plus the growth in LED technology has made them more available and easily the more cost-effective option, so there is no reason why you cannot make that switch.
- Faucets and Water Fixtures – Check the flow rate, 1.0 GPM (gallons per minute) is good but a lesser number is better. Investing in fixtures that have motion sensors limit the consumption and ensure that wastage is minimized if not completely removed.
- Window Treatments – Window shades can work in two ways. They can absorb the heat from the outside and work as additional insulation for your interiors. Choose light-colored shades as they have a more reflective capacity to keep your interiors at your ideal comfort level.
- Appliances – Check the labels for Energy ratings like the “Energy Star” because these organizations have done the testing on how appliances perform with their energy consumption. Inverter appliances that even out electricity with actual usage are new and the savings it promises are big, look through their labels and check their performance or better yet, check for reviews from people who have purchased these appliances for reference.
- Indoor plants – What better way to show Mother Earth that you care than bringing in nature itself into your spaces. They have tons of benefits like improving air quality by emitting oxygen into your environment not to mention they look very pretty
Record-keeping and data handling is an aspect of operating a medical office that can greatly be improved with the latest technology. Going paperless is a trend that has been gaining momentum first by being aware of the deforestation that is needed to produce paper, but now with technology, it has become a shift that has become more practical. Doing digital copies of records and having them accessed through a secure server cloud lets the users access documents from several devices sometimes while not being in the office at all. Securing confidential information is not a problem with controls that can be set in place and access to technology allows for doctors to get the right information but not be tied up with manually searching through stacks of paper before giving a diagnosis or even potentially life-saving advice.
Increasingly, even in operations, the processes are being made using digital tools. Properly labeling your office in Google Maps, setting up an appointment, inquiries, even publishing of patient reviews are done online very easily. This trend is not going anytime soon so prepare to make your office future-ready for an ever-increasing digital society.
Our dream is, this guide will help you realize that going green is about choices. Finding the right alternative that is both environmentally responsible but still in keeping with the design intent for a quality patient experience because we care about YOU, and the environment. They are not opposites and the compromise in cost may eventually be minimal. It’s about making the right choices for you and your practice; choices that truly reflect your values, your brand, and the quality of care that you aim to provide. Here’s to the start of your eco-friendly journey to a Medical space that cares for your patients and the planet as well.