How being green helps improve patient care

corporate services team

Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH) is proud to celebrate Earth Day on April 22. However, the hospital’s commitment to the environment and being a responsible corporate citizen is a year round initiative. MSH believes that caring goes beyond patient care and extends into the surrounding community and environment.

Every dollar MSH saves on energy and utility costs can be directly reinvested into patient care.

This belief means that a green hospital can improve patient care while reducing our carbon footprint. Every dollar MSH saves on energy and utility costs can be directly reinvested into patient care.
 
Everyone at MSH is responsible for doing their part to help reduce energy costs. This is something MSH reinforces with staff activities such as an annual Greening and Sustainability Expo and Bike to Work day. The majority of the day-to-day work falls onto our Corporate Services department, which is comprised of facilities, environmental services, food services, biomedical services, patient transport, security, and waste management. Staff in this department work every day to find new ways of saving on energy and utility costs and new recycling initiatives  Their work is, for the most part, done behind the scenes, but can be felt in every step of one’s journey through the hospital. 

For staff, patients, physicians and visitors, it’s essential they feel comfortable during their time here. That means a bright, clean facility that is kept at a comfortable temperature. However, being a 710,000 square foot facility and achieving that comfort is not an easy task. MSH has worked hard to make that comfort a reality while still being efficient and fiscally responsible.

These changes have resulted in the equivalent of 236 cars removed from the road or a reduction 2.4 million lbs of CO2.

During MSH’s redevelopment project, the hospital was designed to utilize natural light wherever possible. Natural light has been proven to help in the process of healing but it has the added benefit of helping to heat the hospital in the winter (shades help keep the hospital cool in the summer) which minimizes the reliance on mechanical heating. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to have windows in every part of the hospital. Fluorescent tube lights in hospital corridors and hallways have been replaced with LEDs. These lights require less energy to run, last longer and are typically brighter. This is helpful for anyone with low/no vision and helps create a safer environment for everyone. These changes have resulted in the equivalent of 236 cars removed from the road or a reduction 2.4 million lbs of CO2. MSH has a plan to retrofit all the lights throughout the hospital with LEDs which will result in even more savings.

MSH has also rescheduled its air handling units (massive machines which cycle air throughout the hospital) based on occupancy. This means the HVAC system doesn’t push ventilated air into unoccupied spaces (such as clinics which aren’t open on weekends).  This rebalancing has resulted in the equivalent of 152 cars being removed from the road or a reduction of 1.5 million lbs of CO2.

There are many more initiatives MSH has implemented or continue to work on which make MSH a leader at the forefront of green healthcare. With LEED silver certification; the 2018 Energy and Environmental Stewardship Award from the Canadian College of Health Leaders; strong corporate partnerships with companies such as Markham District Energy and an engaged staff, MSH continues to lead the way in healthcare greening. And that is good for all staff, patients, physicians, visitors and the environment.