In this MEDICA-tradefair.com interview, Anja Schönheit-Müller talks about the sustainable use of resources in hospitals and explains why this encompasses more than just energy and water.
Ms. Schönheit-Müller, what is the level of interest in "Green Hospitals"? Is the Green Hospital Lichtenfels a role model for other hospitals in terms of implementation?
Anja Schönheit-Müller: We received several inquiries from international and regional parties, which expressed interest in our endeavor. Unfortunately, the "Green Hospital" concept is not as widespread as it could be, which is why it is crucial to educate and inform hospitals on a deeper scale. A new building is not what is important in this case. There are many individual measures that can generally be applied to all healthcare settings. The hospital location dictates the respective components, but even small changes can have a big impact.
Which measures promote greater energy efficiency in your new building?
Schönheit-Müller: We have optimized our building envelope with a triple-glazed window system, and the use of heat recovery, geothermal energy, solar heat, biogas, green electricity, and photovoltaics integration. The Green Hospital should be sustainable wherever there is a use of resources. It emphasizes ecological, economic, and social sustainability.
Where do hospitals use an especially large amount of resources?
Schönheit-Müller: Commodities and energy are the key components on the ecological side. It is assumed that hospitals on average generate 6 kilograms of waste and consume 500 liters of water per day and patient. Some of this waste pertains to harmful cytotoxic drugs or cytostatics. Hospitals annually spend an average of € 3,300 in energy and heating costs per bed.
On the economic level, there are capital, processes and structures to consider, while the social component includes values, culture, employee motivation, and the trust of patients and referring physicians. The Green Hospital navigates through this so-called sustainability triangle.
How can employees contribute to sustainability?
Schönheit-Müller: Needless to say, everyone is encouraged to save energy and resources in the workplace. For example, waste sorting and separation is part of all of our wards and departments. Right from the start, we have involved our employees in change management and the design and construction of the new building. Workplace health promotion and annual health campaigns are also part of our commitment to employees, which also fosters involvement on their part.