A Watershed Moment: Energy Efficiency in Healthcare

On today’s episode we hear from Sarah Chartier, Sustainability Coordinator at Spectrum Health, who discusses the steps this hospital system has taken to become more energy efficient.

Hospitals rely on a large surplus of energy in order to function, “If you can imagine a hospital system as running 24 hours a day every single day of the year,” says Chartier. Spectrum Health has worked to manage this use by cooperating with General Electric to look at ramp structures. This drew attention to the current lighting fixtures in the hospital, which were of poor energy use, gave a dim source of lighting, and were also high maintenance. Over the past three years, Spectrum Health has made the switch to using the most highly efficient light bulbs, LED, which in turn has brought about a 67% savings, a long with a return on investment. Another way the hospital is working to reduce energy consumption is by implementing structures that allow lighting to switch on and off depending on whether or not people are in the room, as well as turning computers to sleep mode when not being used.

In addition, the West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC) has been working with healthcare institutions on a project to showcase  energy efficiency in the healthcare sector of the community. WMEAC collaborated with a group of hospitals and healthcare centers to conduct case studies and get the story of what these organizations were doing as far as energy efficiency in their buildings. This information is now being used as a plan for the rest of the community to follow toward the goal of more energy efficient infrastructure. Some of the organizations involved in the effort were Metro Health Hospital, the Dominican sisters – Marywood Health Center, and Spectrum Health, of which Sarah Chartier helped in the effort.

To listen to this episode, click here.

“A Watershed Moment” is a weekly radio program focused on environmental news and happenings in West Michigan, plus solutions for living a greener life.  Broadcast on WYCE-FM 88.1 on Tuesdays at 8:30am and 5:30pm, this program is produced by Grand Rapids Community Media Center and West Michigan Environmental Action Council.

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