Whether your goal is earning LEED certification or your facility is simply “going green”, careful equipment planning and implementation can significantly reduce the carbon footprint and overall environmental impact of your building.
What is the LEED® Green Building Program?
In the last 20 years, the term LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design™, has become synonymous with the transformation of buildings and communities into sustainable, socially responsible environments that improve the quality of life. LEED provides a framework for rating building performance against a set of well-defined criteria established by the US Green Building Council (USGBC). Up to 100 credits plus 10 bonus credits may be earned in pursuit of a LEED Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum rating. Some of the benefits of LEED certification include lower operating costs due to a reduction of energy and water use, a smaller carbon footprint and in some cases, tax and utility incentives. LEED is a voluntary, consensus-driven approach to “going green”, but for some sectors, such as local, state and federal governments as well as defense, some level of LEED compliance may be required when constructing new facilities or for major remodeling projects.
Water Use in Hospitals
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Commercial and Institutional building sector is the largest consumer of water, accounting for 17% of the water drawn from public supplies. Hospitals consume 7% of that amount.
The top three uses of water in a hospital are plumbing fixtures, cooling and heating, and medical equipment. Medical equipment, including washer disinfectors and steam sterilizers, consumes about 15% of the total amount of water used in a typical hospital. Adopting the use of water-saving technology can significantly reduce this amount and make a meaningful contribution to a facility’s overall effort to reduce water consumption and meet its LEED sustainability goals.
How STERIS Can Help
STERIS recognizes the significant contribution it can make to your sustainability goals and has implemented a number of measures to significantly reduce the potable water consumption of sterile processing equipment.
The use of electric vacuum pumps for conditioning and drying in steam sterilizers has reduced cooling water consumption by up to 40%, with additional savings coming from advancements in cycle performance, temperature sensors and automatic utilities shutdown. The availability of water recycling options can further reduce consumption by an additional 35-99%.
Washer disinfectors with innovative spray arm and sump designs have also dramatically improved efficiency while reducing water usage. By switching to current technology, water use can be reduced by up to 68% compared to previous generation washer disinfectors. The latest advances in cart washers allow up to 70% of water to be recycled.
Water Consumption Improvement Compared to Previous Generation Equipment
Creating a Healthy Planet and a Healthy Bottom Line
LEED credits may be earned in seven main categories including
- Integrative Process
- Location and Transportation
- Sustainable Sites
- Water Efficiency
- Energy and Atmosphere
- Materials and Resources
- Indoor Environmental Quality
Bonus credit categories include Innovation and Regional Priority. In some categories, a facility must meet certain prerequisite requirements before credits can be earned. For example, in the Water Efficiency category, a 20% reduction in water usage must be demonstrated and potable water consumption used for medical equipment cooling must be minimized before other credits can be applied.
The use of STERIS Sterile Processing Equipment can Contribute to Earning the Following LEED® Credits: