Hospitals are making progress in many areas of sustainable operations - they are reducing toxics, using greener cleaners, increasing recycling, and offering healthier food.
Virtually across the board, they are creating green teams to manage program implementation, energy efficient lighting upgrades, and pharmaceutical waste management.
Emerging areas include the sourcing local food, eliminating styrofoam and water bottles and using solvents in labs.
Non-profit Practice Greenhealth produced this data as part of its third annual Sustainability Benchmark Report, designed to assist member hospitals in measuring progress toward sustainability in healthcare.
They note that hospitals are saving millions of dollars in dumping fees because they produce less solid and hazardous waste, and that a majority of "green leaders" are either using or are formalizing contracts for green cleaning products, equipment, and procedures, which not only improves indoor air quality but is driving the market for these products.
And they're implementing many projects to conserve water, using xeriscaping with native plants and/or gray water irrigation, and sub-metering their water use for better tracking.
Hospitals are huge energy consumers, since they operate 24 hours a day. Healthcare organizations spend $7.4 billion in energy costs each year.
85% of acute care hospitals have benchmarked their energy use with the online Energy Star Portfolio Manager, developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It tracks energy consumption and prioritizes facilities for energy upgrades.
Learn more about greening of hospitals: