Efforts to protect our environment are rewarding in many ways.
Doylestown Health is committed to keeping our community healthy, and that includes the environment we live in. Doylestown Hospital continues to embrace the "green" movement to decrease our impact on our local environment and simply do the right thing.
Making our own electricity
In early 2016, Doylestown Health installed a 1.6-megawatt generator powerful enough to meet about 75 percent of Doylestown Hospital's daily electricity needs. By using the combined heat and power gas turbine (also known as cogeneration system) Doylestown Hospital expects to save more than 13,000 kilowatts hours of energy each year, which is equivalent to the same amount of energy used by 1,500 average homes.
Combined heat and power gas turbines simultaneously produce electricity and heat from natural gas, allowing the system to capture otherwise wasted heat and use it throughout the building. Doylestown Health expects to save about $600,000 in annual energy costs, while cutting the hospital's energy-related carbon emissions in half.
Doylestown Health President and CEO Jim Brexler recently accepted a rebate check for $537,596 from PECO President and CEO Craig Adams at Doylestown Hospital.
In 2009, PECO launched the Smart Idea program to provide incentives for customers to reduce energy consumption and increase energy efficiency. This was in response to Pennsylvania's Act 129, signed into law in 2008, which set ambitious goals for reducing demand for the state's large electric utilities.
Doylestown Health also received an Alternative Clean Energy grant for $442,273 from the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development to help fund the cogeneration project.
More than 200 hospitals nationwide operate cogeneration systems, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Cogeneration systems make good sense for hospitals, which function 24/7 every day of the year and use energy around the clock.
Green Team working for change
The hospital's Green Team is actively working to make Doylestown Hospital environmentally responsible. The goal is to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible. As a hospital, there are some unique challenges but progress has been made.
Doylestown Hospital recycled 100.67 tons of waste in 2014 and 117.88 tons of waste in 2015 (17% increase). All of the confidential paperwork that is shredded on-site is recycled and the kitchen recycles all grease. Recycling bins are found throughout the hospital and are being added where needed.
Water savers installed last year on sterilizing equipment use 75% less water than the previous system. The hospital continues to install more energy efficient LED and fluorescent lighting.
Medical device manufacturer Stryker recently recognized Doylestown Hospital with a gold-level "Healthy Hospital Award" for its efforts to safely and appropriately reprocess certain surgical tools. In 2015, the hospital kept nearly 9,000 pounds of waste out of the landfill.
Another effort includes the reduction of what is called "red bag waste." This is special medical waste that needs to be processed separately from regular trash in a process that uses additional electricity and water. The Green Team found that in many cases, people were unnecessarily placing regular trash in these special red bins. By reducing the number of red bins where appropriate and reeducating staff, the hospital has cut its red bag waste by more than half.
What happened to all those red cans that were taken away? The hospital cleaned and disinfected the red cans and donated about 160 of them to Habitat for Humanity for reuse.
About Doylestown Health
Doylestown Health is a comprehensive system of inpatient, outpatient and community services connected to meet the health and wellness needs of all members of the community. Our independent and nonprofit system is dedicated to healthcare excellence from childbirth to end-of-life care.
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