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Bell Hospital takes a look at going green

March 18, 2011
By JOHANNA BOYLE Journal Ishpeming Bureau

ISHPEMING - Greening up your household usually takes some advance planning to identify areas of your family's life that can be made more efficient or environmentally-friendly. Now imagine doing that with an entire hospital.

Officials at Bell Hospital in Ishpeming are in the beginning stages of planning a hospital-wide green initiative, or "building a business case for sustainability," said Bell CEO Rick Ament.

By increasing sustainability and approaching the initiative from a business standpoint and adding accountability, Ament said, going green will be a lasting part of the hospital's operations, not just a quick fad.

"It's easy for us to do this and make it a fun green project," Ament said. "I want to make sure once we start, we can't stop it."

Although officials have only held a few organizational meetings so far, the green initiative at Bell will eventually address areas such as waste generated by hospital operations, utilities and water use across all areas of the hospital's operations, from the cafeteria to specific departments.

Around 20 people attended the first green initiative meeting, a much higher number than Ament said he was anticipating. Those who attended included everyone from physicians to maintenance workers to hospital volunteers to board members.

"Right now we're in the process of evaluating all the areas of the hospital," said Katie Brady, a marketing associate with the hospital.

By analyzing different areas of the hospital, Bell can determine which measures need to be taken to make the building more sustainable and what the return on investment would be for those measures.

"Energy consumption is a big issue," Ament said. "The first thing we have to do is measure and get our arms around it."

The 40-acre property the hospital sits on also allows for sustainability options that might not be available to other hospitals without that much land, such as composting.

"It does require involvement from all departments," Brady said.

The hospital is still working on putting together a list of goals for the sustainability initiative and will be working on developing a specific plan to put the initiative into action.

Ament said the hospital would also hopefully be issuing reports to the community on the influence the green initiative has had on the hospital's environmental impact.

Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401. Her e-mail address is



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