Advocate Health Care
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What We're Doing

You can learn more about Advocate's commitment to conservation and sustainability by reading the most recent Environmental Stewardship Report. Here are a few highlights.

Leaner Energy
In an effort to mitigate increasing cost and consumption, several initiatives and strategies are being deployed to meet Advocate’s present energy needs and to better position the organization for the future.  There are three core pillars in our strategy: efficiency, cost management and conservation.  With a weather-adjusted 10.6 percent system-wide reduction in energy use per square foot from the baseline year 2008, Advocate saved over $2.5 million through 2011.  To help continue this trend, construction and renovation standards are being developed to exceed the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers standard 90.1-2007 by 20 percent for renovation and 30 percent for new construction. Water usage is also being targeted with a 20% reduction of water use beyond the Energy Policy Act of 1992. With all new construction aimed at achieving LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification going forward, Advocate’s new building environments will continuously strive to construct the highest level of energy efficiency from the ground up
Less Waste
Reducing and eliminating waste–in all forms–is a priority for Advocate Health Care because it recognizes the triple aim value of preventing pollution, reducing costs and engaging associates to unite around a meaningful purpose. Advocate invests significant resources to educate and train associates on proper and secure waste segregation. In 2011, Advocate Health Care diverted over 10,000 tons of waste from going to landfill by recycling 27 percent of its paper, plastic, glass and aluminum waste and 95 percent of new construction and demolition debris. Through a variety of efforts to support consistently safe medical waste segregation practices, Advocate reduced its regulated medical waste in 2011 to 1.75 pounds per adjusted patient day collectively..

Healthy Spaces

Green Building

Advocate Lutheran General Hospital
Patient Bed Tower

In service of its commitment to Environmental Stewardship, Advocate Health Care’s Facilities/Design and Construction Team has adopted ‘Sustainability Standards’. The new standards aim to create and maintain healthy spaces to increase energy efficiency, reduce waste of resources and select safer materials and finishes for improved indoor air quality in new buildings and renovations projects. Advocate takes great care to minimize its environmental impact through all phases of new construction and in day-to-day management of its buildings’ operating systems. In 2010, Advocate Lutheran General’s Patient Care Tower became the first acute care hospital in the Midwest to earn LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold level certification from the United States Green Building Council. The LEED program is an internationally renowned green building certification system. It recognizes buildings that meet rigid requirements for energy performance, water conservation, improved indoor air quality and stewardship of resources.   

Advocate BroMenn Medical Center

Advocate BroMenn Medical Center, located in Normal, Illinois, completed a three-story, 79,000 square foot patient tower addition in June 2012. Offering a home-like atmosphere and healing environment for patients and visitors, the new space utilized green building practices for its new Obstetrics, Critical Care and Progressive Care patient units. Specifics include:

  • "Spoil" dirt was kept for fill at the new site
  • Existing trees and shrubs were relocated
  • Glass tiles are made of recycled glass
  • Materials and finishes with no or minimal pollutants
  • Energy efficient Low E and Argon filled glass

Advocate continues its green building legacy with several new building projects underway. All new major construction projects within the Advocate Health Care system follow LEED standards, with Gold certification as our target. Integrating sustainable building features into the design and planning phases of all projects, Advocate aims to create and maintain healthy spaces to increase energy efficiency, reduce waste of resources, and select safer materials and finishes for improved indoor air quality. Sustainable building features also include consideration of increased day lighting to enhance the patient healing experience and increase staff satisfaction, decrease storm water run-off, and increase green space on campus where possible. We excel at partnering with our contractors and sub contractors to send as much of the construction debris as possible to be recycled, and we plan to continue to achieve recycling rates greater than 90 percent in the future

Rendering of Advocate Christ Medical Center
Ambulatory Pavilion, planned
opening October 2013

  • New construction is underway in Oak Lawn, Illinois with a major building project at the Advocate Christ Medical Center campus. In 2011, ground was broken for a new 320,000 square foot Ambulatory Pavilion that will provide outpatient medical services. The project has been registered with the Green Building Certification Institute as a LEED-NC v.2009 project. The project team anticipates achieving LEED Gold certification by reducing waste, preventing pollution and increasing energy efficiency with a targeted savings of 20-30 percent. Additionally, consideration has been given to integrate increased access to natural day light, sustainable building education for patients and visitors and water efficiency features into the building. 
Smarter Purchasing
Advocate has committed to serving local, nutritious and sustainable food as part of Health Care Without Harm's Healthy Food Pledge. This commitment is demonstrated in relationships with community supported agriculture, healthier foods on our hospital menus and greener catering and serving processes. In 2011, the hospital Food and Nutrition teams instituted several sustainable and healthier options such as: introduction of a hormone-free milk product, recycling of plastic in kitchens, glass and aluminum cans, recycling grease from fryers, sponsorship of on-site farmer’s markets, reusable and/or compostable take out containers, and bottled water elimination in catering services.
In 2011, Advocate targeted the reduction of office paper recognizing its ubiquitous nature and the ability for virtually all of Advocate’s 32,000 associates to contribute to less waste. Recognizing the increasing usefulness and convenience of electronic communication, Advocate set out to reduce use of office paper by 10 percent in 2011. Several key initiatives are underway including conversion to electronic medical records--with the primary goals of reducing medical errors and increasing expediency of information exchange—and less paper waste. Although finding new ways to be a truly paperless work culture is a challenge, we are experiencing moderate decreases in the volume of office paper used throughout the system with a 3% reduction in 2011 over 2010.
Awards and Recognition
IIn 2011, Advocate was again honored for the fourth consecutive year with the System for Change Award and ten hospitals were recognized with environmental excellence awards from Practice Greenhealth. Additionally, 20 associates and physicians were honored at the second annual Advocate Health Care Environmental Stewardship Awards at an event held on America Recycles day, November 15, 2011.

Engaged Leadership
Proud to share its growing experience and successes in reducing energy consumption and waste minimization, Advocate Health Care regularly collaborates with health systems nationwide to drive best practices in reducing the health care industry’s impact on environmental health. Advocate is one of eleven founding health systems and three environmental nongovernment organizations (Health Care Without Harm, Practice Greenhealth and the Center for Health Design) to sponsor the Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI). HHI is a national campaign to implement a completely new approach to improving environmental health and sustainability in the health care sector. As of the HHI official launch on April 3, 2012, more than 500 hospitals with more than $20 billion in purchasing power have joined the campaign. The three-year initiative urges the nation's hospitals to commit to improve the health and safety of patients, staff and communities by using the Initiative's newly issued, free step-by-step guides to implement the HHI Challenges:

  • Engage in leadership on environmental health and sustainability
  • Serve healthier foods and beverages
  • Reduce energy use
  • Reduce waste and recycle
  • Use safer chemicals
  • Purchase environmentally preferable products?

During the next three years, HHI will gather data and metrics from participating hospitals to demonstrate the impact these strides are having on the health and safety of patients, workers and communities, as well as on reducing health care expenditures.  For more information visit the HHI website: 

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