Mayo Clinic's 2011 Environmental Sustainability report
"The more that we explore opportunities for greater environmental stewardship at Mayo Clinic, the more excited we become about all that is possible," says John Black, M.D., leader for environmental sustainability at Mayo Clinic.
"Green is everywhere we look — from the daily actions of each of our 58,000 employees, to the products we purchase for our operations, to the forms of energy that we use, and the facilities and services we create in the future to advance health care."
Dr. Black works with an advisory group of sustainability experts across Mayo Clinic to study and make recommendations for improving its environmental impacts to benefit the health of patients, staff and communities.
Enterprise sustainability initiatives
One of the group's largest efforts in 2011 was to create Mayo Clinic's first-ever environmental sustainability report and to develop collective environmental sustainability priorities:
- Create a green scorecard to monitor energy management, waste management and environmentally preferred purchasing.
- Develop an enterprise-wide energy policy.
- Continue to reduce energy consumption from non-renewable and renewable resources.
- Continue to reduce waste and increase reprocessing and recycling efforts.
- Purchase more environmentally preferred products.
- Advance educational opportunities for best-practices sustainability across the Mayo Clinic system.
More than $2.3 million in savings
"It's also becoming more affordable to be green." says Dr. Black. "For us to be relevant, we need to be affordable, and the greening of Mayo Clinic should provide us with an opportunity to save money." Mayo Clinic's current sustainability practices are responsible for more than $2.3 million in financial savings per year.
2011 environmental sustainability highlights
Mayo's many environmental efforts are both seen and unseen, from the 462 solar panels powering elevators, lighting, and heating and cooling in a major downtown Rochester, Minn., parking ramp, to new rain gardens and permeable parking areas filtering wastewater from area sewers, to behind-the-scenes efforts to recycle waste, repurpose equipment and recommission facilities for better energy performance. Here are sustainability highlights from 2011:
Reducing energy usage
In 2011, Mayo Clinic committed to reducing energy usage on its Rochester, Minn., campus by 20 percent by the year 2020. The multi-year effort will encompass retro-commissioning existing buildings to better meet energy needs. Retro-commissioning efforts will:
- Identify physical improvements to save energy.
- Enhance systems operations.
- Increase equipment performance.
- Enhance comfort for patients, visitors, employees and the community.
Retro-commissioning activities are beginning with two of the Rochester campus's largest facilities, the Stabile and Generose buildings, in 2012. Mayo is adding heat recovery systems to reduce ventilation costs, reducing ventilation in systems that are being over-ventilated and modifying existing controls systems to operate buildings more efficiently.
The energy savings in these two buildings alone is estimated to be 20 percent in energy usage and $400,000 by the year 2020. Mayo has committed to retro-commissioning its remaining Rochester buildings over the next five years.
In Menomonie, Wis., Mayo Clinic Health System installed a geothermal energy system in a new dialysis center to reduce use of non-renewable energy resources and lower emission of pollutants into the air. Geothermal energy uses the constant temperature of the earth to provide cooling in warmer months and heating in cooler months through a heat exchanger. The new system is expected to use half the energy of a conventional heating/cooling system and save 30 percent in energy costs.
Mayo Clinic Hospital was the first hospital in Florida to be approved by the state government to convert from constant volume to variable volume air conditioning. The variable volume system is more energy efficient because it requires less energy to process hot, humid outside air for building ventilation. The conversion will save a projected $200,000 per year in electricity costs.
Mayo Clinic hospitals in Arizona, Florida, Mayo Clinic Health System and Rochester collectively reprocessed over 61,000 pounds of waste in 2011. Reprocessing involves cleaning and sterilizing appropriate FDA-approved devices for reuse. For example, surgical areas at Mayo's Arizona campus diverted 10,000 pounds of waste from landfills by converting from disposable pillows to reusable pillow for surgical patients. Some surgical procedures require five pillows to position a patient - pillows that were used only once and then discarded. Now a comparable pillow at a lower cost is used because it can be sanitized and reused. Mayo's reprocessing efforts saved in excess of $1.9 million in 2011.
Supporting safe disposal
Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., participated in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back campaign sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration. More than 38 large boxes of unwanted prescription drugs from area communities were collected for safe disposal. Many Mayo Clinic Health System locations also offer prescription take-back programs throughout the year, working with community service partners to help people to dispose of expired prescriptions safely. These initiatives address a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. The campaign also diverted the pharmaceuticals from being disposed of in community water supplies and landfills, a common consumer practice.
Improving sustainable food services
Mayo Clinic continued to purchase energy-efficient equipment in all its food service areas and to review food vendors to ensure they have adopted sustainable mission statements. Mayo Clinic works with authorized vendors to purchase produce from local farmers within a 150-mile radius, whenever possible.
As part of its environmental statement, Mayo Clinic recognizes the link between environmental health and public health. Mayo's approach to environmental stewardship includes:
- Energy conservation.
- Sustainable building design, construction and operations strategies.
- Environmentally responsible purchasing and waste management.