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MGH focuses on environment

January 9, 2009
By MIRIAM MOELLER Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE - Marquette General Health System has been working on becoming more green.

From the interior design to housekeeping and facilities, MGHS has been surveying what they can do and what they are already doing to be more environmentally friendly, energy efficient and sustainable.

"I actually started green in our non-patient areas," said Ellen Greer, director of building services. "We started with green carpet cleaners and floor finish."

Article Photos

Laundry attendants Janie Blixt of Ishpeming, left, and Carol Pringle of Negaunee fold laundry at Marquette General Hospital. Several departments at the hospital are beginning to use more environmentally- friendly products and practices. (Journal photo by Miriam Moeller)

Greer is also trying out micro-fiber mops that are supposed to save on water and cleaning products.

"You use it one time and then you put it in the washing machine and reuse it," she said. "We reuse and recycle wherever we can."

For example, by participating in a recycling program and dispersion control, MGHS saved 25,000 bottles from going to the landfill in the last few years, Greer said.

In the laundry department, MGHS has switched to reusable towels that are washed with a green detergent.

Cheryl Bollero-Oberstar, senior interior designer at MGHS, also has made some changes in her department to become greener.

"We are using green guard indoor certified paint that's low in vocs (volatile organic compounds)," she said.

Bollero-Oberstar also said she is trying renewable rubber flooring that's polyvinyl chloride-free, recycled and has natural fillers. Other floors are covered with natural and renewable linoleum, often made from linseed oil.

"We're recycling carpet base and vinyl wall covering," she said. "We're looking into carpet recycling."

Bollero-Oberstar said it is important for health facilities to think green.

"It affects the building environment and everybody that uses the environment," she said, adding that looking into more eco-friendly and energy efficient products and practices is a trend in the health care industry.

In fact, the international organization Health Care Without Harm promotes green health care in terms of safe disposal of toxic medical waste; PVC-free medical devices; healthy building and green purchasing. For more information, go to

Jacob Guter, director of facilities management and construction at MGHS, has plans to incorporate a variety of green practices within the next year.

Included are installing room sensor devices in bathrooms and storage areas, implementing a steam trap maintenance program, setting up preventative maintenance, and installing electrical metering to monitor power usage at the hospital complex.



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