A healthy environment Featured

7:00pm EDT November 25, 2007

When a company decides to implement changes to care for the environment, it’s not a one-time deal but an opportunity for continuous improvement.

Dr. A. Gus Kious, president of Huron Hospital, a Cleveland Clinic hospital, says the organization made a promise three years ago to “go green” at every turn and improve patient outcomes by enhancing the environment of care. A multidisciplinary Green Team was formed with the goal to reduce, recycle and redirect materials as well as to create an environment that is less toxic and more sustainable.

To achieve its green mandate, Cleveland Clinic Regional Hospitals’ President and CEO Fred DeGrandis says Huron Hospital developed a two-part pledge: “to create a healthy environment that will not cause harm to the individuals within our campus and community and to provide world-class care by becoming good stewards of our environment.”

Since 2005, Huron Hospital has become a leader among local medical facilities to enact sustainability and environmentally responsible programs.

It was the first hospital in Northeast Ohio to complete the first eight-month program provided by Entrepreneurs for Sustainability of Cleveland, a nonprofit group that teaches business leaders how to integrate people, planet and profit to create healthier, more prosperous businesses.

In addition to making the hospital a healthier place for patients and their visitors, Huron Hospital’s green programs have made it a healthier place to work and have had a positive effect on the local and global community.

Area recycling companies have experienced a significant increase in business as the hospital turns over more materials to be converted for other uses, and the hospital has donated toiletries, medical equipment, health care uniforms and other medical supplies to developing countries through international organizations.

DeGrandis says the hospital also has identified ways to reduce its carbon footprint. These plans include using renewable energy systems, like wind, geothermal and solar; installing new energy-efficient windows; and reducing office devices by 50 percent and replacing them with networked multifunction devices. Reducing paper use, recycling metal and construction debris, and installing low-flow showerheads and more dual-flush toilets are other efforts in the works.

HOW TO REACH: Huron Hospital, (216) 761-3300 or www.huronhospital.org