More than half of the contiguous United States was in some form of drought as of August 16, 2022, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Most experts expect the trend to continue. Many states, such as California, already have implemented water usage restrictions with no plans to lift them anytime soon. Adding to hospitals’ water woes are soaring costs. For the past 10 years, water utility costs have risen faster than the consumer price index, a trend that is expected to continue. Shortages and increasing costs make it essential for hospitals to do what they can to reduce water usage. The right hospital environmental services (EVS) and facility maintenance services provider can help.
Healthcare Water Usage
Research shows that hospitals and other health care facilities account for 7% of U.S. water usage by commercial and institutional facilities. In healthcare, heating and cooling systems and restrooms use the most water. Yet hospital EVS services, including laundry, also require a fair amount of water to keep their facilities clean and healthy.
When Hospital EVS & Facility Maintenance Services Work Together
There are ways for EVS teams to reduce their water usage. Add to this that many healthcare EVS providers include facility maintenance services, and minor adjustments can mean substantial savings when the teams work together. Below are a few water-saving ideas.
Landscaping. Already implemented in some hospitals in drought-plagued states, landscaping with fewer ground coverings that require watering, such as grass, and more drought-resistant plants is a growing trend. So, too, are rock gardens, expanded patios, and additional parking areas.
Outdoor equipment. Many facility maintenance services are turning to slow drip hoses for landscaped areas requiring watering. They also inspect sprinkler systems more frequently to ensure they are in top working condition, include automatic shutoffs, and are correctly positioned. Few things portray a disinterest in sustainable water usage to hospital patients, staff, and visitors like wet sidewalks.
Restroom equipment and fixtures. A water-saving shower head installed in a home saves a noticeable amount of water. When they are installed in 30 to 500 or more hospital rooms, the savings can be substantial. The benefits of other water-saving restroom equipment, including low-flush toilets and faucets with automatic shutoffs, can also add up.
Microfiber. Studies prove that microfiber mops and cloths retain more water and pick up more dirt than their traditional counterparts, and they can often even be used dry These characteristics make microfiber an excellent tool for hospital EVS departments looking to reduce water usage while maintaining cleaning quality.
Plumbing. Another area where facility maintenance services can help hospitals save water is by checking plumbing and pipes as part of their routine preventative maintenance duties. Small leaks can quickly become large and even lead to burst pipes, which can waste huge amounts of water and require costly repairs.
Dual chamber buckets. When water-saving autoscrubbers can’t be used, and a mop and bucket are called for, make sure it is a bucket with separate wash and rinse chambers. Dual-chamber buckets save water and labor by reducing the need to rinse and refill the bucket.
Dilution systems. Nearly all EVS for hospital teams use concentrated cleaning products that require water to be added. Over dilution can add up to water waste. Adding too much water can also render formulas ineffective, so over diluted products must be discarded and re-diluted, which means water waste. A pre-programmed and measured dilution system that ensures a proper dilution ratio is worth the investment.
New technologies. Products that reduce hospital EVS water usage are regularly emerging, including equipment that produces excellent results with or without water. The key here is not to jump on the bandwagon without proper testing. For example, before we adopt new technology at Servicon, we rely on our Innovation Council to vet these products to ensure they are backed by science. We then test the technologies in the field to ensure their performance meets our quality standards.
Encourage water-saving behaviors. EVS staff are among the most visible staff in a hospital, with duties that take them everywhere within the facility. On average, they also spend more time with patients and their families than doctors and nurses. Suppose hospital staff, patients, and visitors see hospital EVS technicians using water-saving practices, such as microfiber cloths, dilution systems to prevent water overuse, and even refillable water bottles for personal use. It sends the message that sustainable water practices matter to them and should to the onlookers as well.
Hospital EVS Provider Near Me
If you are looking for an EVS for hospitals provider that can help you reach your sustainability goals, read more about Servicon’s healthcare experience and our focus on sustainability or contact us by phone or email today.
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