We not only care for the health of you and your family, we care for the health of our environment. As part of our mission to serve the community, we feel it's our responsibility to use environmentally friendly practices every day.
In fact, two of our Birthing Center nurses-Deb and Sara-recently lead an effort to put medical waste to good use in the hospital by using it to create a special piece of artwork! Over the course of a year they partnered with colleagues throughout the hospital to collect bottle caps and more. Once enough materials were secured, the magic began to happen. Over the course of a few days, Deb and Sara assembled the pieces on a traced grid and began to glue their pieces in several different layers to create depth and give the artwork a deeper sense of dimension. The end result is this beautiful piece of artwork depicting a very special delivery of a swaddled baby. This piece is going to be hung in the patient lobby of the triage area for our Birthing Center. Two additional art pieces are planned for this year. Deb and Sara describe the project in this brief video:
Our designated Green Team has made a number of changes to our hospital and clinics to address the growing issue of environmental health. Through their efforts, UnityPoint Health – Meriter hospital and clinics are better for the environment and our patients.
Reducing Water Usage
In 2010, Meriter installed several "Green Machines" to reduce the amount of water used for heating and cooling the hospital. These machines eliminate the need for softener salt by using electricity to remove water hardness. The results:
- 140 tons of softener salt has been spared from entering the waste water stream. This salt is a pollutant in high concentrations.
- Our water consumption has reduced by an estimated 5,000,000 gallons per year.
Small changes like these can truly lead to big results in terms of overall sustainability and environmental stewardship.
Meriter has been active in its efforts to lower its electricity demand. To help reduce energy usage and air pollution, Meriter slashed its lighting consumption by almost 374,000 kilowatt-hours per year, enough to power 33 homes. This reduction has stopped 582,000 pounds of carbon dioxide-equivalent gas from entering the atmosphere.
How was this accomplished? We changed out older, less efficient light bulbs/fixtures and replaced them with more efficient lights. In addition, sensors were installed to harness daylight and shut lights off in unoccupied rooms.
Meriter recycles paper and cardboard used in our hospital and clinics. In 2012, we recycled over 133 tons of cardboard and 94 tons of paper products. By some estimates, these contributions have spared 3,870 trees from being cut down, conserved 2,040 cubic yards of landfill space, and kept over 10,000 gallons of oil from being used.
LEED Certified Clinics
As Meriter continues to grow, our newest buildings have been built using LEED standards (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) to promote environmental sustainability. We are proud to have two LEED certified clinics: UnityPoint Health - Meriter - DeForest-Windsor and UnityPoint Health - Meriter Monona.
Earth Friendly Construction
Meriter regularly remodels sections of the hospital to improve patient care, visitor experience and facility performance. We are committed to making these renovations a win-win for both our patrons and the planet they live on. When we remodel:
- Energy efficient light fixtures are installed.
- Heating and air conditioning equipment is serviced and/or upgraded.
- Insulation is improved, contributing to lower energy costs.
In addition, Meriter donates old furniture and building materials to charities such as Habitat for Humanity. In 2012, 100 tons of materials from our remodeling projects were recycled.