Stewardship of natural resources
As a hospital, Enloe Medical Center consumes water and power at high levels, so conservation and sustainable practices make sense. Enloe has taken many steps to improve sustainability over the years, and a new quality initiative at the hospital builds upon these efforts.
Creating a Healthier Hospital, is one of Enloe's 2015-2016 quality initiatives focused on leading the community to a healthier future by engaging leadership to reduce waste, improve efficiency and promote healthier nutrition.
Water conservation in times of drought
The medical center uses a lot of water — around 36.5 million gallons a year, at the Esplanade Campus alone. Most of this is for patient care, which means it is exempt from the governor's emergency order and Cal Water District's 32 percent reduction in water use. Even so, the hospital decided it was important to make strides in water conservation. Accomplishments so far include:
- Implementation of low-water-use landscaping, instead of grass. This effort began in 2008. "You can do a lot with ground cover and bark. Bark holds moisture, and there are so many low water plants that can handle the heat." This summer, remaining grass will get less water, allowing it to become "a nice yellowish color," says Bill Seguine, director of facilities.
- Installation of a computerized irrigation controller that is tied to a weather station. This waters based on humidity, temperature and wind and has been in place since 2008.
- Evaluation of landscaping followed by a reduction in water and re-programming of irrigation schedules, beginning in June. We have also determined where we can use drip instead while still enabling other higher-water-need plants to survive.
- Replacement two years ago of older inefficient cooling towers with much higher efficiency models that use less water and recirculate the water they use. This change saves millions of gallons of water each year.
- Reduction in the time that recirculating water fountains run so they don't operate during the hottest times of the day, as of this June.
- Addition of low-flow aerators to hand-washing sinks in patient bathrooms and staff sinks, saving thousands of gallons per day in hand-washing alone, beginning in June.
Other sustainability measures include:
LED Lighting: LED lighting in three parking areas, reducing usage by 42 percent in just one month.
Recycling: A recycling program at the hospital includes plastic, aluminum and glass. The medical center also recycles items such as batteries, fluorescent lights, cardboard and pallets, and has given medical equipment to Project S.A.V.E. and computers to Computers for Classrooms for re-use. Project S.A.V.E. (Salvage All Valuable Equipment) recycles left-over medical supplies and equipment for third world clinics. Additional recycling includes a service for reusable sharps containers that prevent a significant amount of cardboard and plastic from going to the landfill each year. Between 2011 and April 1, 2015, this prevented 72,545 pounds of CO2 emissions and kept 124,395 pounds of plastic and 5,426 pounds of cardboard of out landfills.
Window Tinting, Reflective Roof: Reflective film was applied on all patient room windows at the medical center on the second, third and fourth floors to assist with energy efficiency in the hospital by reducing thermal gain. A reflective roofing system at the hospital has a similar effect.
Nutritious and Sustainable Food: Morrison Management Specialists, which runs nutrition and food services at Enloe Medical Center, has several initiatives. Those at Enloe include using trans-fat-free foods and rBGH free yogurt and milk; recycling and food waste reduction; offering social and ecological certified coffee and free trade coffee; introducing some organic food in the cafeteria; partnering with qualified local and regional growers to encourage relationships with local farms whenever possible.
The company also collaborated with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program to establish a purchasing policy in 2006 that removes unsustainable wild and farmed seafood from our menus. Other measures include offering only HFAC-certified cage free shell eggs and poultry produced without routine use of human antibiotics; and using plant-based disposable packaging from renewable resources.
The cafeteria's Balanced Choices and Meeting Well initiatives provide a variety of healthful options and educational tools that encourage cafeteria customers to make healthier dining, catering and vending choices. The company also works with its suppliers to improve the nutrient content of food it purchases with an aim to eliminate trans fat and saturated fat, reduce sodium, increase whole grains, moderate portion size and provide nutritional information.
There is always more work to do to better conserve natural resources, and Enloe is up to the challenge.