Metro Health Corporation (MHC) in Grand Rapids, Michigan, received Hospitals for a Healthy Environment's (H2E) Partner for Change Award in 2006.

MHC is building a LEED-certified replacement facility scheduled to open in fall 2007 for its Metro Health Hospital facility, a 238-bed, acute care osteopathic teaching hospital. The new hospital will sit on a 170-acre development known as the Metro Health Village in Wyoming, Michigan, with the hospital serving as the anchor for a group of healthcare-related facilities such as child care, pharmacy, health and fitness gyms, and physician buildings.

When MHC first decided to build its new facility, the board of directors put forth a list of guiding principles, one of which was to implement green-development strategies. Since then, Metro Health Hospital has implemented a mercury-elimination program, recycled more than 2,000 pounds of batteries and lightbulbs, and reduced medical waste by 2.47 tons. The facility has also implemented a HIPAA-compliant paper-destruction program into its recycling program that saved $18,000 per year, and recently switched to all Green Seal-certified chemicals. In addition, the facility created a “Green Team” in 2005 to monitor sustainable practices. Because of its many efforts, MHC was recently designated by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality as the first health system in the state of Michigan to be a “Clean Corporate Citizen.”

The new metro health hospital on the metro health village campus in wyoming, michigan

The new Metro Health Hospital on the Metro Health Village campus in Wyoming, Michigan

With the construction of the new facility, MHC is not content to merely sit on its laurels. “One of the strategies we've used with the new facility to minimize storm water runoff is to use a vegetative roof, which can be seen from approximately 170 patient rooms,” explains Sustainable Business Officer John Ebers, LEED AP. “From a LEED standpoint, there are many things this roof brings to the building, but we are more interested that our patients will be able to have views of a natural setting as opposed to a rubberized surface or other roof with no life to it.” The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality recently awarded $400,000 to Metro Health Hospital to support the installation of the 48,500-square-foot roof as a part of the hospital's comprehensive storm water management program.

“Ultimately, these steps are not only going to be better for the end users, but they also are going to create a healing environment that prevents chemicals and toxins from entering the hospital in the first place,” says Ebers. “Our senior leadership at the hospital has taken an active interest in what the Green Team is doing, and they get excited that nearly every change we have made has saved money, as well as improved the hospital environment.” n

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