Children's Hospital Colorado Strives for a “Greener” Future
Children's Hospital Colorado is taking steps to become an eco-friendly facility. Implementing recycling programs, providing alternative transportation options for employees and finding ways to conserve energy are just a few of the steps the hospital has taken so far.
According to John Hudgens, sustainability manager for Children's Hospital Colorado, “going green improves more than just the environment; it improves children’s health — our mission and our responsibility.”
The hospital has already made several environmentally-conscious choices and launched multiple green programs. New steps are being taken every day to make Children's Hospital Colorado a greener facility.
What have we done to go green?
In 2008, Children's Hospital Colorado created the new position of sustainability manager, and hired Hudgens for the job. According to an article in the Denver Post, Children's Hospital Colorado is one of the only hospitals in Colorado to have a “full-time conservationist.”
Children's Hospital Colorado also put sustainability into consideration when purchasing furniture for the new hospital. Approximately 75-80 percent of the furniture purchased is made with recycled and/or sustainable material, such as recycled steel, aluminum and particle board.
What are we doing to go green now?
Children's Hospital Colorado is currently working on recycling and waste minimization. Approximately 27,600 pounds of paper and 30,000 pounds of cardboard are recycled per month. Additionally, all of the grease produced in the cafeteria is recycled and used to produce bio-diesel fuel, which Children's Hospital Colorado security manager uses in his truck.
The new hospital was also designed with energy efficiency in mind. Florescent lighting is used in 95 percent of the hospital’s lighting. The florescent lights used are low mercury “green-tip” lights. Also, light motion detectors are used in bathrooms and conference rooms throughout the hospital to conserve energy and control lighting.
Children's Hospital Colorado is helping its employees go green by providing alternative transportation programs. All employees have the option of receiving a free RTD EcoPass, which entitles them to ride any RTD bus or light-rail. The “Guaranteed Ride Home” program provides a free taxi in case of emergency to any employee who uses alternative transportation to get to work. Additionally, a carpool link on the hospital intranet makes forming a carpool with co-workers easy; plus, carpoolers with three or more passengers receive preferential parking and may be eligible for free parking.
What are our future plans for going green?
As sustainability manager, Hudgens will continue to research ways to decrease the carbon foot print of the hospital. He also will work with the EcoAdvocates, a committee established to discuss and implement new green programs for the hospital.
Additionally, Children's Hospital Colorado is working with RTD and the city to extend the light-rail along the I-225 corridor to provide more options for alternate transportation.
What can you do to go green?
Parents can learn how to encourage an earth-friendly lifestyle for their kids in this article.
Kids can learn more about going green in this article.