Is your hospital/ home green?

Behind the food industry, the medical industry is the most wasteful when it comes to trash. I had the pleasure of spending the past week in the hospital with our newborn son (isn't he cute?) and in between naps- got to do a full green audit of the spaces that I was allowed to interact with. Here are some of the things that I noticed that we should be doing much better since it is now 2012. Note these all are things that either save money without an upfront investment- you don't have to spend money to "go green".
1. Waste management- Could not find a recycling bin in either the maternity ward, or the cafeteria.
2. Waste management- Did not get the option to use silver ware or plates. I had to use plastic and foam.
3. Health/ Waste management- McDonald's was the only food source that was available 24/7. Not healthy or green with all of the packaging.
4. Indoor Air Quality- I sneezed every time I had to use the soaps or hand sanitizing solutions since they had so much perfume in them. If I sneezed- imagine what the lungs of a 4 day old felt.
5. Indoor air quality- The cleaners that they used in the room were not low-VOC. Not good for mothers, babies or the people working around them.
6. Energy Management- Did not see any occupancy sensors in any of the spaces that were not in use 24/7 so they could shut off to save power.
I could go on and on, however in a space with so many smart people working in it, why are we still so wasteful? There are many articles that I have read on this and have consulted other hospitals that were much worse. If you want to see a medical facility in Atlanta with a green business/ marketing plan- check out Emory-
It's not hard as long as you stick to the basics- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Bob the Builder and
q is your hospital home green, go green, hvac, repurposing upcycling, First hug from baby Matthew
First hug from baby Matthew
q is your hospital home green, go green, hvac, repurposing upcycling
q is your hospital home green, go green, hvac, repurposing upcycling
q is your hospital home green, go green, hvac, repurposing upcycling, Our new marketing director
Our new marketing director!
  47 answers
  • SawHorse Design Build SawHorse Design Build on Jan 16, 2012
    yes- the baby picture and the post are related!

  • Miriam Illions Miriam Illions on Jan 16, 2012
    LOL. I love the outfit. This is an amazing post. Congratulations!

  • Congratulations Matt. He is absolutely beautiful . What is his name? How soon before he is posting on Hometalk?

  • Congrats! He definitely has your hairline ;) After recently spending a few days in the maternity ward myself, i can't agree more with your post. Well said.

  • Oh my gosh!!!! He is adorable!! He looks just like you! Congratulations!

  • SawHorse Design Build SawHorse Design Build on Jan 16, 2012
    @Kass- his name is Matthew James Hoots @Plum Doodles- we can work something out. Since the HOPE scholarship is going away in GA he has to starting earning his college education now. Thanks @Nick, @Miriam and @Lee Anne for the kind words.

  • Peace Painting Co., Inc. Peace Painting Co., Inc. on Jan 16, 2012
    What an adorable picture, your main job. You better swing that hammer a little while longer so he can follow. The post is an eye opener; how disconcerting. No wonder people come home sick from the hospital. And they say in third world countries, 'If you get sick, don't go to the hospital.' We are glad all is well with the bundle of joy and mom; Congrats! You did your part exceeding your replacement rate. Chas.

  • SawHorse Design Build SawHorse Design Build on Jan 16, 2012
    They did do some things correctly. The lighting seemed fairly efficient and I was able to move around the hospital without having to touch anything with my hands. The accessibility did make it easier to stay germ free.

  • 3po3 3po3 on Jan 16, 2012
    I so agree. As you can tell, I did my turn in the maternity ward not too long ago. I was also appalled at the waste, although it was a little better than your experience. We had better food options, and it was brought up with real silverware and plates. Also, our nurse urged us to take all the stacks of wipes and such with us because it would otherwise be thrown out (and we basically paid for them). This seems wasteful, but hopefully every patient is told to do the same.

  • Congrats on the baby. What we contractors do is a curse. Every time i visit someone, go to dinner, or in fact go anywhere. I am looking at how bad things are constructed or what could have been done better. I was driving past a large building in a town next to mine today and commented on the poor quality of how the house wrap was installed. Knowing that in a few years there will be decay and rot on the walls of the building. But if I went to the contractor he would simply brush it off and not do anything about it. This kind of stuff drives me crazy.

  • Erica Glasener Erica Glasener on Jan 17, 2012
    Congratulations Matt, welcome Matthew James!

  • Congrats Matt, THESE are the BEST of times !!! Glad to see all doing well..!

  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) on Jan 17, 2012
    awww congratulations Matt. He is a beautiful baby. Enjoy and be grateful for each and every day with him. 5&6th(twin boys) grandchildren are scheduled for delivery this Friday!

  • Ricardo B Ricardo B on Jan 17, 2012
    You and your wife did a great "build" together. The seams look tight and everything seems to fit together well. I'm sure Master Inspector has already approved this whole package long before the final inspection by the crew! Now the long loving maintenance begins. I would suggest patience, virtue and a great big slathering of unrequited love! Congratulations to the both of you! I see a potential working partner in your future!

  • congrats matt! great news!!

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Jan 17, 2012
    First of all congrats on the new family member...along the "green" line after working in the pharmaceutical industry for 12 years...the waste there was mind wonder drugs cost so much.

  • Congrats!! We added a little girl to the AK extended family in June, and we can tell you the same is true at Northside in Atlanta. Did you know that for sanitary reasons they also throw out every pillow that is in your room after your stay? In our room alone we must have had over 15 pillows! Do the math times every hospital bed and the numbers are staggering. We have no argument with the sanitation as we go germ-free like it's going out of style...But it seems like there must be something better to do with all this than toss it in a dumpster. Recycling? Burning??

  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) on Jan 17, 2012
    I think the pillows are considered to be medical waste. Macrolide-Resistant Streptococcus Pneumoniae is primarily the reason.

  • ProCoat Painters, LLC ProCoat Painters, LLC on Jan 17, 2012
    Welcome new hoots baby! Let me know if Heather or I can help or bring a dinner by for the family.

  • Wow! So precious, the miracle of babies and life. Congratulations!

  • Rose S Rose S on Jan 19, 2012
    What a sweet baby. Congratulations, there is a new generation.

  • Bonnie B Bonnie B on Jan 21, 2012
    Now this is what I call "personally designed" ~~ it just dosen't get any cuter than this, your new son. Congrats!

  • SawHorse Design Build SawHorse Design Build on Jan 21, 2012
    Thanks for all of the compliments! We are very pleased with baby Matthew and he has been great so far. Very minimal crying. Just likes a clean diaper. @Procoat- let's talk. Perhaps a lunch date!

  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) on Jan 23, 2012
    Recent visit to Athens Regional Hospital. There is hope :) oh...and twin boys (Josiah 3.12 and Gabriel 4.3 - both in nicu but doing well!)

  • SawHorse Design Build SawHorse Design Build on Jan 23, 2012
    @Four Seasons- congratulations! We just have to train the next generation how to be good stewards of the economy and the environment.

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Jan 23, 2012
    Education is KEY...Every time I see pallets of bottled water I cringe...Some people pay more for tap water then I pay for gasoline!!!...the big question is why?

  • SawHorse Design Build SawHorse Design Build on Jan 23, 2012
    KMS- the education is out there. People need to think and ask questions. There needs to be a cultural mind shift in our country to stop being so wasteful. The only time people are more conservative is when there seems to be less of a resource or it the costs go up. When natural gas prices or gasoline prices go up, people think green. When they go back down, they forget quickly.

  • SawHorse Design Build SawHorse Design Build on Jan 24, 2012
    @procoat - just sent you a direct message.

  • Sawhorse is so right, a new cultural shift needs to achieve critical mass. I too see waste everywhere but posts like this can help begin the change to streamline a new way of thinking.

  • Terri J Terri J on Feb 20, 2012
    Congratulations on the birth of your son, and yes, he is adorable. I just read your article on waste in the hospital. I know an architect who designs nursing homes, and I am going to pass on the information to him. Maybe he can figure out a way to make the nursing homes he designs more environmentally friendly.

  • SawHorse Design Build SawHorse Design Build on Feb 20, 2012
    Terri- there are many architects doing is correctly, just not enough of them. Whenever I see new building going up that are not green, it makes me wonder if people have been paying attention to the cultural shift over the past few years.

  • Terri J Terri J on Feb 23, 2012
    Maybe, I should re-clearify a little bit. He already does a lot of green work, I was just going to send him the comments and ask him if he would like to join hometalk, as it is a fast resource for the latest developments in all this. He actually published books a few years ago, b/c there were none avialiable in his two states where he is licensed provinding all the current rules/regulaations/standards, etc in doing nursing homes. I know he has a couple of bigger projects going on currently, so I was doing what I could to speed things along to him. Afterall, he is my brother-in-law!

  • SawHorse Design Build SawHorse Design Build on Feb 24, 2012
    That is good to here. I am glad that he is supporting the movement. Lee Anne Culpepper and I are working on a green bathroom case study that will showcase some of these green features that should be considered for design.

  • Terri J Terri J on Feb 24, 2012
    Please keep me informed, as there are many contractors and developers, that I would like to share that news with.

  • Susan S Susan S on May 03, 2012
    Well Gee Whiz!! HOW did I miss all this excitement? That baby's half grown by now!!! Oh, I know, I didn't join HT until about early February so that's my story and I'm stickin to it!! Congratulations on another fine job by SawHorse - you and & your wife do really quality work!! Is he a Matt, Jr?? You'll have to post some recent pics for us now that he's 1/4 yr.old. Love the onsey advertisement!!

  • SawHorse Design Build SawHorse Design Build on May 03, 2012
    @Susan- he is now 4 months old now. Here is a more recent picture with his older brother.

  • Susan S Susan S on May 03, 2012
    Oh thank you for sharing Matt. What handsome boys you have and clearly the baby takes after his father - your heads are shaped exactly alike!!! LOL You should be very proud!!!

  • SawHorse Design Build SawHorse Design Build on May 04, 2012
    Thanks Susan- There is no question that I am the father. They start to look more like their mother once they grow out hair. LOL

  • Cooper S Cooper S on May 11, 2012
    Nice Pics.I am All for Green Living, I agree that there are many things and areas of change necessary with in the Hospitals to Go Green or even improve the generaI enviroment. I work in the Health care field, my recent Hospital Job, I worked on the 2nd floor of a non smoking campus, unfortunately during the tobacco burning season I found it almost impossible to breath without aid of my inhalers. the building might as well not had doors and windows(not usually open). It can some time be very difficult to manage waste effectively, given that Bio Hazzards and Infection controll are a great piority. Cleaning supplies are very caustic at times, some times I wounder how do we ever maximize health. personally I carried my own silverwear and food/utensils. Green is Good but I feel that there must be strict Federal Guidelines too adhere and effectively incooperate. This could take some time. Am All IN. Great Job!!! New construction might be a great place to start.

  • SawHorse Design Build SawHorse Design Build on May 11, 2012
    @Cooper- there are natural cleaning supplies that perform better than most of the commercial products. When researching how to clean a cutting board, vinegar was shown to be the most effective cleaning supply when it can to killing microbes.

  • Susan S Susan S on May 14, 2012
    WOW - never thought of vinegar as a disinfectant per se! Who knew - well obviously you did!! Thanks for sharing that one.

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on May 15, 2012
    "pickled" food are preserved by the use of vinegar...drying and smoking, salt cured etc. These are "tricks" that have been in use for many hundreds of years...long before refrigeration was invented.

  • Ellen Ellen on Feb 23, 2015
    If you worry about recycling and plastic....think disposable diapers! Practice what you preach, starting at home.

  • Mudnjoy Mudnjoy on Jul 25, 2015
    I inherited various styles of medical supplies that my father used after prostrate cancer. I use lots and lots of elastic with plastic buttons to repair bras, underwear, waist bands, Velcro straps I donated to a local community bike shop for pant bands, double sided strips of sticky stuff that hold art labels on the wall or trap insects in cupboards. Those pink bins are great for rinsing hand laundry, the water goes to the garden or they are used for tie dye, or to deep water plants......Plastic tube draw out water from big planter saucers or my rain water system. Be creative.

  • Bink Bink on Jun 19, 2016
    You have a sweater on and your baby has nothing but a diaper on???

  • Dfm Dfm on Mar 25, 2017
    there is a lot of waste product at health centers. most of it is for protection of clients. there are no unwrapped bulk supplies. all supplies are sterile- one use per person only, to prevent spread of infections. if the supplies go into a clients room, the supplies stay with the client and never used for another. again, it helps control germs/ spread of infectious material. many germs can survive for days on surfaces in the right environment.