MURRAY, Utah (Intermountain Healthcare) – Intermountain Healthcare is working to create sustainable practices to improve the environment and health of the communities they serve. A new set of sustainability initiatives launched by Intermountain is aimed at reducing waste, water usage, and air pollution.
Intermountain Healthcare has switched to strawless lids in all 39 of its cafés and bistros.
Before the switch in May, Intermountain went through 94,000 plastic straws per week. That’s 4.9 million straws a year which end up in local landfills. Changing to strawless lids is projected to reduce the number of straws used in Intermountain facilities by more than 2 million a year.
“One of the big problems with plastics, is they break down, but they never go away,” said Steve Bergstrom, Intermountain Healthcare’s director of sustainability. “The plastic in straws takes even longer to break down in the landfill.”
The new strawless lids are manufactured using less plastic, so therefore less waste. Straws are still available upon request in cafes, and to all patients in the hospital.
In another effort to reduce the amount of plastic used in our facilities, Intermountain is in the process of moving away from using plastic water bottles. Some Intermountain cafes are already offering water in aluminum bottles which are reusable.
By adding more water filling stations around our facilities it’s made it easier for people to refill reusable bottles. Each floor of a facility has at least one water filling station.
Intermountain understands helping people live the healthiest lives possible means helping to create a cleaner environment in the communities we serve.
Converting to LED:
Another way Intermountain is doing this is with a focus on sustainability and energy efficiency. Recently all hospitals and several clinics switched to LEDs for all interior lighting. The move is estimated to save more than $600,000 annually on electricity costs early on. It reduces the use of electricity by 6,676,000 kWh/annually which is enough to power 500 average homes for a year.
Intermountain is now in the process of converting its exterior lighting at all hospitals to LED. The move is expected to save even more energy and money. Because Intermountain is a not for profit hospital those savings go back into patient care, research, and health programs.
Grass is one of the biggest energy consuming parts of big landscapes. The constant watering, mowing, and federalizing can lead to a waste of resources. With Utah being the second driest state in the country, any efforts to reduce water use on landscapes can have drastic impacts.
Intermountain Healthcare is making plans to reduce the amount of grass at our facilities by 3.2 million square feet. It would be replaced with other landscapes that use less water such as plants with drip systems. The revamped landscapes would take less maintenance and mowing which reduces our energy use and improves air quality.
Intermountain is now taking landscapes into consideration when building any new facilities. Layton Hospital for example has very little grass and is using a state-of-the-art watering system. It can track weather and rainfall to know how much to water certain areas. It also detects leaks in the system and will shut off and notify caregivers. The system also helps prevent overwatering.