Source: Health Facilities Magazine

For the past decade, Cleveland Clinic (*) has embarked on a systemwide sustainability drive that could make some health systems green with benign envy.

The effort has encompassed energy and water-reducing strategies, energy-efficient facility design, environmentally friendly purchasing and an aggressive recycling effort. And everyone from the top down pitches in — it’s all part of the culture at Cleveland Clinic.

Cleveland Clinic hosts tree planting event with participation of community residents, students and caregivers. Photo courtesy of Cleveland Clinic

So far, so great. In 10 years, the hospital and health system have saved an estimated $50 million in energy costs and $30 million in materials purchased, diverted more than 100,000 tons of material from landfills and saved more than 600,000 trees, says Jon Utech, director of Cleveland Clinic’s office for a healthy environment.

“Our CEO, Toby Cosgrove, saw the importance of the environmental-sustainability movement and its relevance for health care,” Utech says. “Environmental health and human health are linked, so we’ve been working on this for 10 years.”

Impressive results, but Cleveland Clinic has established a new loftier set of sustainability objectives going forward, including becoming carbon-neutral in 10 years.

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(*) Cleveland Clinic is a member of Practice Greenhealth, GGHH’s partner program in the United States.