HDR Architecture sponsors national effort to green operating rooms

HDR Architecture, Inc., a leading international architecture, engineering, interior design and planning firm, has joined the group of corporate sponsors of Practice Greenhealth’s Greening the Operating Room Initiative. This sweeping and prescriptive path to green the nation’s operating rooms was launched earlier this year to reduce the environmental footprint of the operating suites in hospitals across the country, which can produce between 20 and 30 percent of a hospital’s total waste.

Operating rooms are some of the most resource-intensive and waste-generating areas of a hospital. A recent study estimated supply costs of operating rooms could eat up as much as 56 percent of total operating room budgets, dwarfing salary costs which run about 35 percent of total operating room budgets. In addition to producing between 20 to 30 percent of a hospital’s total waste volume, much of the waste disposed from operating rooms is thrown out as regulated medical waste, which costs between 10 and 15 times more in disposal fees than regular waste. Much of this waste could be disposed outside of the regulated medical waste stream. In addition, most operating room supplies are thrown out after just one use, even though re-use may be an option.

“As the healthcare sector continues to explore the benefits of environmental sustainability in a healthcare environment, it makes sense to focus on those departments with the highest costs and largest volumes of waste,” said Anna Gilmore Hall, Executive Director of Practice Greenhealth. “HDR has dramatically underscored its corporate commitment to sustainability in healthcare with this sponsorship. In so doing, HDR will support and participate in the collaborative efforts of forward-thinking hospitals, manufacturers and related stakeholders, under the auspices of Practice Greenhealth, to develop guidance documents to help reduce the environmental impact of the nation’s operating rooms. Greening the OR will also help hospitals reduce costs, increase quality and improve worker and patient safety.”

“Helping develop solid evidence-based design strategies for healthcare environments is a top priority for HDR,” noted Michaella Wittmann, Director of Sustainable Design Solutions for HDR. “The Greening the OR initiative is especially important to us because it closely corresponds to other efforts we are making to elevate sustainable design strategies in the healthcare field. The healthcare industry is committed to doing no harm, and yet possesses many issues related to the design and operation of its facilities that are contradictory to this principle tenet.  We strive to support those efforts that will help healthcare systems transform their facilities into models of environmental stewardship.”

Practice Greenhealth is the nation’s leading membership and networking organization for institutions in healthcare that have made a commitment to sustainable, eco-friendly practices. To learn more about Practice Greenhealth’s Greening the OR initiative visit www.greeningtheor.org.

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