How environment control systems factor into green healthcare
Monday, Apr 29th 2013

Keeping in line with eco-conscious efforts underway in just about every walk of life, healthcare providers are increasingly undertaking steps to lower their facilities' carbon footprint. While a variety of methods and practices exist that hospitals and other care centers can implement, environment control systems that feature advanced humidity and temperature monitoring capabilities are especially help in this regard.

Over the past few decades, hospital CEOs and other medical care professionals have put more onus on making all healthcare operations and facilities more environmentally friendly, Plastics Today reported. Initial green efforts begun the 1990s focused primarily on removing dioxins and other harmful chemicals from healthcare settings. For example, Beth Israel hospital has switched from using mercury-based thermometers to more advanced temperature monitoring equipment.

Today, however, most industry players have centered their efforts around decreasing the average medical treatment facility's electricity usage, according to Plastic Today. These efforts interest both environmental activists and hospital board members. While financial-minded leadership teams want to limit electricity usage to reduce annual expenditures, environmentally-minded industry players have looked to electricity needs as a way to dramatically reduce a hospital's carbon footprint.

This healthcare trend has culminated in CleanMed, a healthcare consortium which gathers together numerous industry players to discuss eco-friendly best practices, top green technologies and new ways to discuss operations. At this year's conference in Boston, which was held earlier this month, topics discussed included how hospitals of the future can be built with the environment in mind, new cleaning methods, food preparation best practices and how to more intelligently handle hazardous drugs.

New ways to think about environment control systems
The agenda of this year's CleanMed conference highlighted a variety of factors affecting healthcare facilities and environmental initiatives. However, one easy way healthcare facility operators can lower the amount of electricity used is by leveraging advanced environment control systems.

In particular, humidity monitoring equipment can help hospitals keep annual energy bills in check. This equipment is necessary not just for making patients feel comfortable, as medical care facilities need to use dehumidifiers to ensure that storage rooms are always under ideal conditions. If too much moisture collects on medicine or surgical tools, harmful bacteria can grow on surfaces and this can lead to calamitous results for patients.

However, some hospitals could be spending too much money to remove excess moisture from these storage facilities. In an effort to remain compliant and ensure patient health, some hospitals may be tempted to have dehumidifiers run at maximum capacity. Considering that Energy Star reported that the average dehumidifier uses 1 kilowatt-hour of electricity to remove 1.85 liters of water from the air, this overzealous practice will likely result in inflated energy bills.

To prevent this situation from happening, hospitals can use advanced humidity monitoring equipment, This way, facilities managers can always know that storage rooms are kept under ideal conditions without having to rely on appliances which require massive amounts of electricity to function. Especially savvy managers and CEOs will have their oversight systems send out text messages or emails to alert personnel if conditions deviate from the ideal, and this can ensure hospitals are always compliant and are always taking steps to reduce their electricity demand.