A hospital is a lot like a small town—we provide shelter, food, water, and care around the clock. Because of this, health care is one of the most resource intensive industries in our country. Virginia Mason Medical Center is reducing our resource use by implementing energy and water conservation projects in our hospitals, medical centers and facilities. We do this with the help of our partners at local utilities, our Engineering Department, consultants and our colleagues at the Seattle 2030 District.
Virginia Mason Medical Center has been conserving energy for decades. We began our conservation efforts in the 1990s, in an effort to improve our efficiency. Our energy efficiency program has evolved over the years as energy conservation technology improved. Energy conservation projects we have undertaken since 2011 save over 4.5 million kilowatt-hours per year.
Our energy conservation efforts are based on our utility master plan, which was developed in collaboration with local experts. Since our campus has buildings of various ages, this was no easy task. Over the last four years, our work has included lighting retrofits, HVAC system upgrades, fan upgrades, and building management system improvements, among others.
Health care facilities require substantial amounts of water to provide high quality care. At the same time, we know that access to healthy water is essential to the health of our community and the environment. That’s why we are conserving water resources through projects and our behavior. Our water conservation efforts since 2011 save almost 7 million gallons of water per year.
Our water conservation efforts are also based on our utility master plan, which was developed in collaboration with local experts. We have reduced our water through improving our sterile processing equipment, installing WaterSense fixtures, replacing old fixtures, and planting native plants, among other projects. Each year, we celebrate “Fix a Leak Week” to encourage employees to report leaks to our Engineering Department. Our housekeeping team also keeps an eye on leaks across our campus.