The very Green Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh

While stumbling into the magnetizing Trash Hero organization during a cowork digital nomad time at KoHub in Koh Lanta I had the chance to think about «Green» again. And about the hospital world which I explore continuously with my blog.

My research took me here first: Global Green Healthy Hospitals in Buenos Aires. A community with stunning figures – 859 members, 48 countries, 6 continents and some 28’000 hospitals – «using innovation, ingenuity, and investment to transform the health sector and foster a healthy future for people and the planet». It is a project of Health Care Without Harm – to lead the global movement for environmentally responsible healthcare. Wow.
And I thought – it’s about time to have a look at «Green Hospitals» and about their commitment to be and live that. Even without a (worldwide) ranking.

One total outstanding example in place of many other hospitals already applying «green techniques» or coming up with activities and concepts: Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
6 minutes official movie here.

Portrait: 9 floors (inpatient, outpatient), Spacious, private and semi-private rooms (with overnight accommodations for parents), 315 beds, 13 Operating Suites – including six equipped with leading-edge minimally invasive equipment, state-of-the-art technology, paperless information management system. Some 12,400+ admissions, almost 80’000 emergency room visits (41 beds with Trauma Center), 3092 employees (more facts here).
Special: outdoor healing garden.
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.png

Opened in May 2009 with a new campus, this $185 million University of Pittsburgh-affiliated hospital received two LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – certifications; a green building rating system by the U.S. Green Building Council in Washington.
March 2011, as one of the first pediatric hospital campuses in the United States: LEED certification for energy use, lighting, water and material use, as well as for incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies. 3 out of 21 certified hospital activities:

  • Water-efficient landscaping with drip irrigation systems
  • Use of building materials with recycled content (including recycled post-consumer structural steel)
  • Use of regional construction materials to reduce transportation issues

Children Hospital Pittsburgh  Children Hospital Pittsburgh Interior.png

Daylights and Views: Vitamin D is important for maintaining healthy bone structure and has been found to play a key role in regulating happiness. Depression has been linked with deficiencies in vitamin D. Daylight and views are available in most areas of the Children’s Hospital campus to promote happiness and relaxation of its patients. (by Sarah Haenel, March 2016)

More about the «Green Campus» here (PDF). And to be precise they have been awarded with two LEED certifications:
«Certified» LEED rating for its hospital building and the «silver» LEED rating for its John G. Rangos Sr. Research Center.
More about the 900,000 square feet campus construction by Barton Marlow here.  Children Hospital1.png
Children Hospital2.png  Children Hospital3.png

So the goal of the hospital is «to transform the lives of children through warmth and science».  To make it short: healthy patients need healthy hospitals.

The true awareness about healhty hospitals started quite some years ago. A very interesting paper in this context is the impressive 2009 «Discussion Draft» (PDF)

by the World Health Organization, the Health Care without Harm and the Health and Environment Alliance.

More to that by Johnson & Johnson, «CleanMed» research in 2012: Sustainability Ranks High in Global Healhtcare Purchasing Decision. 307 hospital executives (145 in the United States, 50 in Germany, 50 in Italy and 62 in Brazil) revealed facts like – 54% rated the impact of «green» on purchasing decisions for health care products and supplies – specifically, pharmaceuticals and medical devices and diagnostics – an 8 or higher on a 10-point scale.

Back to the paperless hospital in Pittsburgh
«Children’s commitment to employ green practices extends well beyond its bricks and mortar. This means Children’s employs new operating policies and procedures regarding facility maintenance, housekeeping, food service, and waste management. Children’s also fosters its green philosophy by working with our clinicians, academicians, and community to conduct research on the subject of sustainability and its health effects on children.»
And the vice president of operations Eric Hess about the LEED certification: «It means we’ve achieved our goal of designing and building a world-class pediatric hospital that also is an extremely healthy, transformative and environmentally sustainable environment.»

In addition: Even when in September, 2017 the New York Times wrote «The Best Health Care System in the World: Which One Would You Pick?» and the winner was Switzerland – as an expert of Swiss hospitals I would frankly guess that there is much to do about Green Hospitals. But as usual – there is always room for improvement.

I am deeply impressed by the engagement of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. In my opinion all these fantastic acitivities not only apply for the children – our future – but for hospitals all over the world. For Switzerland that would be 289 hospitals.

Maurice Codourey


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