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Caring for Our Environment

At Children’s National we are dedicated to providing the best pediatric care for our patients, families, and community. As part of this commitment, we are working to provide an environment that is healthy and safe for our children and employees, and ensuring its preservation for their future. By providing access to gardens and nature within our healthcare facility, we can help our patients’ healing process and improve their overall experience at Children’s National. From the thoughtful decision making about the way we purchase environmentally friendly products to the energy used to power our 30 locations around the beltway, we can be certain our patients are exposed to a healthy atmosphere during their visit, and that our environment is well preserved for future generations. We are committed to incorporating environmental sustainability into our daily operations now and well into the future.

Our Mission

Children’s National Medical Center is dedicated to being environmentally responsible in the community we serve.

Our Culture

Our sustainability philosophy is engrained in the culture of our organization, and spans across 30 locations and 6,500 employees.

Membership and Awards

The Sustainability Program at Children’s National received the District of Columbia Hospital Association (DCHA) Environmental Excellence Award in October of 2012. The hospital is a member of Practice Greenhealth, a nonprofit membership organization, dedicated to providing guidance to healthcare organizations on how to create better, safer, greener workplaces and communities.

What we have implemented

Waste Management 
  • Pharmaceutical waste program to protect our waterways and landfil Averted 20,341 pounds of pharmaceuticals from going into landfills and waterways in 2012.
  • Single stream recycling program Recycled 751,363 pounds of waste at main campus in 2012.
  • Implemented baby-bottle recycling program.

Built Environment
  • We use Green Seal Certified cleaning products to clean our facility, as well as chemical-free floor machinery, which converts water into an ionized cleaning solution and is known to improve cleaning and safety. This initiative reduces chemical exposure to staff and patients. 
  • Installed a number of HydroBoost water bottle filling Stations at the main Children’s National Campus, which helps us reduce dependency on disposable plastic water bottles. A Green counter informs users of the number of plastic bottles saved from landfills.
  • Hydroculture plants (a soil-free plant system) continue to be installed at the main campus. Such plants beautify our space without risk of soil-borne bacteria and mold, making it safe for patients and staff. We believe that the incorporation of safe plant-life improves air quality, healthcare outcomes, and patient satisfaction.

  • Environmentally conscious Neonatal Intensive Care Unit:  PVC and DEHP-free finishes and flooring
  • “When we were building the new NICU, one of our interior designers had a brochure that listed environmentally safe building materials. Our whole design team became really interested in how far we could take that idea. One area of concern was off-gassing and potential absorption of chemicals used in plastics. So, for example, infection control regulations require hospitals to have non-porous flooring and furniture, so that you can clean and disinfect them. This is an important rule, but a lot of those non-porous materials have chemical compounds like PVC and DEHP in them. We were already using DEHP-free medical devices in the hospital, like nasogastric tubes and IV tubing, so we thought, why not get these compounds out of the furniture, too? And we did—we were the first area to be entirely DEHP and PVC-free in all flooring and architectural finishes.” –Tara Floyd, Director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit  
  • LEED Certified 17,250 sq. ft. radiology space at the main campus.

Water & Energy Management
  • Conducted comprehensive steam, water and lighting system audits to identify areas for waste reduction. 
  • Steam system optimization and steam trap testing program which reduces a carbon footprint of 350 tons CO2 per year.
  • Installed adjustable speed drives on chilled water pumps. Children’s National committed to purchase 10% renewable energy beginning in July 2013.
  • Energy conservation campaign targeted at employee behavior.  

Environmentally Preferred Purchasing
  • Assessed our supply chain in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Operating Room to purchase more environmentally-friendly and healthier products. There is pilot to provide preservative-free baby wash and other personal care products such as lotion and lip balm.
  • Assessed our office supply purchases, and developed a plan moving forward to increase the proportion of post-consumer recycled products.

Sustainable Food
  • Our cafeteria is committed to sourcing fresh yogurt & milk that is free of artificial growth hormones, purchasing poultry produced without the routine use of human antibiotics, buying local products to support American family farms, promoting Certified Humane cage-free eggs, featuring social and ecological certified coffee, serving seafood that comes from sustainable sources, offering packaging made from renewable resources, implementing waste reduction practices to minimize environmental impact, and providing a large variety of healthful options which includes eliminating artificial trans fat and reducing sodium.
  • As part of the annual Earth Day celebration, we plant a 7,200 sq. ft. vegetable garden with children in the community, in an effort to educate children about sustainable/organic living and eating. In April of 2012, 52 children participated in the planting. During harvesting season, we give away vegetables to families and employees on a weekly basis.

Community Outreach and Education
  • Children’s National hosts an annual Earth Day celebration with employees and visitors in April. Typical attendance is over 1,500 patients, families, and employees.  The aforementioned garden planting is also a part of this event.   
  • Children’s National presented a paper entitled “Greening the Hospital for Financial, Operational and Health Benefits - Sustainable Energy Strategy at Children's National Medical Center”, at the National Association of Children’s Hospitals 2012 International Facility Design & Capacity Conference in December 2012. Members of the Children’s National team participated on the DC Mayor’s Green Ribbon Committee to help formulate the Sustainable DC Plan.

What else is in the works?

Waste Management
  • Red bag waste education per updated DC regulations, to eliminate unnecessary incineration of waste. 
  • Ink and toner cartridge recycling program.

Built Environment
  • Seeking donors for green roof healing gardens on our rooftops, in order to provide an outdoor space of respite on the campus to connect healthcare patients, staff and visitors to the health benefits of the natural environment. 

Sustainable Food
  • Beginning Spring 2013, Children’s National will host a weekly mobile farmer’s market
  • Secure funding to education on sustainable seafood consumption

Water & Energy Management
  •  Lighting retrofit program including relamping and controls – expected to reduce electricity consumption by 1.5 million kWh/year, with CO2 reduction of 1100 tons/year.
  • Steam trap replacement program- expected to reduce steam consumption by 3900 Mlbs/year, with CO2 savings of 82 tons/yr.
  • Heat recovery projects to recover heat from exhaust air, which will reduce steam and electricity consumption and lower carbon footprint by 380 tons CO2/yr.
  • Steam system condensate heat recovery project to preheat domestic hot water.
  • Implementation of water conservation program.
  • Rooftop solar photovoltaic project

Environmentally Preferred Purchasing
  • Expand environmentally preferred purchasing program and develop official policy to guide the selection and purchase of environmentally preferred products and services.
  • Provide preservative-free baby wash and other personal care products such as lotion and lip balm.

Community Outreach and Education
  • You are invited! Children’s National Medical Center will host a 2nd Annual Earth Day Celebration, on Thursday, April 25, in the Main Hospital Atrium from 11am-1pm.  Children’s Health Center-Shaw (Comp Clinic) is inviting you to their 2nd annual spring planting day for the Shaw Organic Garden. This community garden is part of our nutrition and exercise program and is open to the public. The garden is a great way for families to witness and participate in nutrition education. Our spring planting day will be held on April 6 from 11am-1pm at our office 2220 11th Street NW. There will be many activities in addition to planting the garden. We invite all residents to join us on this day. In addition, families should consider adopting our garden, where you commit to helping us with maintenance of the garden.
  • Want to learn more? For more information about the Environmental Sustainability Program at Children’s National, contact Ekaterina A. Solovieva, MHA.

Want to learn more?
For more information about Children’s Environmental Sustainability Program, contact Ekaterina A. Solovieva, MHA.

Read how Ekaterina helped lead the recycling program at Children’s National and how she is ensuring environmental sustainability is part of our daily operations.

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