In recognition of Earth Day, Scope 5 celebrates the sustainability achievements of customer Virginia Mason Medical Center.

Virginia Mason sustainability programLasting accomplishment often springs from humble beginnings.

This month Virginia Mason was recognized with the 2017 Circles of Excellence Award from Practice Greenhealth, a national organization dedicated to reducing health care’s environmental footprint.

The regional healthcare provider’s sustainability program started as a minor recycling program led by a small group of environmentally conscious nurses. Having gained early momentum, the initiative broadened focus with targeted energy-efficiency actions.

Next, Virginia Mason upped the ante by hiring a director of sustainability, Brenna Davis, and forming an all-volunteer “Green Team” aligned with what Virginia Mason calls, the Virginia Mason Production System.

This system draws from lean principals pioneered by Toyota to continually advance the organization’s patient-centered approach to increasing quality, safety and efficiency.

Over time, Virginia Mason’s sustainability program evolved into a source of thought leadership for other hospitals ramping their green efforts.

With the support of CEO Gary Kaplan, M.D., the health system has produced a list of impressive sustainability accomplishments, especially in recent years, as the program has gained momentum.

This list of select achievements delivered by the team at Virginia Mason is inspiring:

  • Building retrofits saved the organization 455,495 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, which translates to $692,352 per year in current energy costs.
  • Water-saving fixtures were installed throughout campus, reducing consumption by 7 million gallons. New water-efficient sterile processing equipment saves 1,800 gallons of water per day. Annual savings were $53,000. This number will grow because water costs are projected to increase 30 percent over the next five years.
  • A recycling and composting program has achieved a 50 percent rate.
  • Replacement of outdated lighting with energy-efficient light-emitting diodes in parking garages saves 74,000 kWh annually.
  • Development of a self-service office supply reuse system to keep useful items and supplies out of the waste stream. The payback period for the medical center was only months.
  • Virginia Mason began eliminating the use of desflurane during surgeries and procedures. A 90 percent reduction in the use of this anesthetic with greenhouse gas-warming potential is projected for 2017.
  • Looking ahead, Virginia Mason has voluntarily pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020.

Winning this year’s Circles of Excellence Award from Practice Greenhealth is a highlight, but Virginia Mason is no stranger to this award.

In 2015 and 2016 Virginia Mason received a Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award from the organization.

The healthcare provider also earned entry into Practice Greenhealth’s prestigious Circles of Excellence the last three years for top performance in seven of 10 sustainability categories, such as energy efficiency, water reduction, environmentally preferable purchasing, green building and more.

Scope 5 is proud to play a role as the software provider helping Virginia Mason track progress, reveal waste, and drive action using sustainability data. On behalf of all of us at Scope 5, congratulations Virginia Mason!