March 2010


This article is about a year old and it makes points that have been made before, such as:

1. The medical field is not prepared for Global Warming. Our Healthcare system world wide will not be able to cope with the shift in and increase in what are largely thought of as tropical diseases today.

2. Medical Communty’s contribute to Global Warming through inefficiencies.

They also make the point that whether you believe in Peak Oil or not,  Healthcare is addicted to Oil.

3. The pharmaceutical industry’s dependence on Oil would cause it to collapse if oil supplies became restricted or suffered a huge price increase.

4. Hospitals are dependent on electricity (coal) for their medical practices and have very little flexibility built into their practice. eg. No xrays, then what?

But the most telling part for me is the following.

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http://www.greens.org/s-r/45/45-05.html

Medicine at the Crossroads of Energy
and Global Warming

by Dan Bednarz, Ph.D., and Kristin Bradford, M.D., M.P.H.

The difficult thing now is there’s no [longer any] low-hanging fruit. — Roger Elliott, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Chippewa Falls, WI, on efforts to reduce hospital energy costs.

[A]ny field … should be judged by the degree to which it understands, anticipates, and takes action in regard to changes in society. — Bernard Sarason, The Making of an American Psychologist

dot dot dot (as they say)

A given in hospital operations is unlimited inputs of energy and resources; this results in waste in the name of hygiene, insurance and regulatory considerations, and “the best” care. However, the fact that worldwide “energy demand is accelerating” and on its current pace “will double by the year 2050” will soon burst upon medicine.

Turning specifically to energy usage, the Health Care Energy Project tells us that hospitals “use twice as much energy per square foot as office buildings…” In addition, hospitals consume large quantities of petroleum-based, processed, and transported products ranging from aspirin to jells and lubricants to plastic dinnerware and gloves to pharmaceuticals, syringes, IV and dialysis tubing, to name but a few. And most of these items are produced for one-time, non-recyclable use. Petroleum derivatives are also found in many computer parts, electronic equipment, furniture, and so on.


… hospitals “use twice as much energy per square foot as office buildings…”


As noted, hospital administrators are somewhat aware of and responding to the rise in energy costs for heating, cooling, and lighting, primarily by locating the problem in the domain of facilities management. Therefore, controlling energy costs in a hospital largely is confined to electricity and natural gas bills.

As the costs of oil and natural gas have risen in recent years facilities managers are trying to make their buildings more energy efficient, hoping that such savings will offset price rises. Yet, a 2006 survey of hospitals found:

More than 90% … reported higher energy costs over the previous year [2005], and more than half cited increases in double-digit percentages.

The facilities management response is to replace, retrofit or upgrade inefficient infrastructure —boilers, lighting fixtures, building insulation, windows, etc., and in general to “modernize” facilities — in accordance with the Energy Star Program. Some of the newest “green” hospital building approaches promise to reduce energy consumption by as much as 60% below code mandates. This is encouraging, but only a beginning.

However, new construction is done only when it makes “economic sense,” leaving many older hospitals and kindred structures too obsolete to “economically” justify retrofitting or demolishing and replacement — again energy is presumed to be plentiful and cheaper than upgrading — and no consideration whatsoever is given to its scarcity. Moreover, the costs for new hospital construction are soaring, another factor traceable to increasingly expensive fossil fuels. Dave Carpenter, summarizing a 2006 energy survey of hospitals, comments on the constraints facilities managers face:

Money-related reasons were among those given most often in response to a … question asking why recommended energy-saving measures hadn’t been implemented, including 37% who reported a lack of funds. Additionally, 31% cited other priorities, 26% said the payback period was judged to be too long, 23% said operations and maintenance budgets were underfunded and 16% cited lack of senior management commitment and support.

Given these constraints:

Facilities managers have little choice but to stay on the lookout for energy savings wherever they can be found. [One manager] says “it’s going to get worse before it gets better…”

We would argue that “it,” energy costs, will not get better. The entire health care industry will be forced to accommodate to dwindling fossil resources while simultaneously beginning to face the consequences of global warming.

This is stark because the health care system —already stressed in other ways — could begin to fail and even collapse for want of energy and a surge in patients.


… the health care system … could begin to fail and even collapse…


Finally, a word is needed on the third so-called “fall-back” fossil fuel we have barely mentioned, coal, since many energy experts offer it as a painless fix for peak oil. While the high levels of greenhouse emissions of coal are well known, what is less appreciated is that carbon sequestration to control greenhouse emissions is expensive and still an unproven technology. Second, recent reviews have concluded there are substantially less coal reserves than the commonly accepted estimates of 200–300 years supply. Perhaps as little as a few decades of recoverable coal remains, much of it low-grade and high in pollutants.

The dimensions of what we face are uncertain, but the major question undeniably is how will hospitals change given the ecological (global warming as well as multiple sources of pollution and resource scarcity) and geological (twilight of fossil fuels) state of affairs the world now faces?

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And the answer is?

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That is right – turn off your computer when not using it and the medical world could save millions of $$$. Why don’t they energy manage their data networks? Because they don’t have to, they think they are Gods.

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http://it.med.miami.edu/x1159.xml

Computer power management

What’s the big deal?

Research shows that personal computers (PC) are not being actively used during the vast majority of the time that they are kept on.  It is estimated that an average PC is in use 4 hours each work day and idle for another 5.5 hours.  It’s also estimated that some 30-40 percent of the US’s work PCs are left running at night and on weekends.

Office equipment is the fastest growing electricity load in the commercial sector.  Computer systems are believed to account for 10 percent or more of commercial electricity consumption already.  Since computer systems generate waste heat, they also increase the amount of electricity necessary to cool office spaces.  (Yes, they lower the cost of heating somewhat.  That’s not a big factor in Miami.)

For the Medical Center, we estimate the savings from PC power management to be hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, even without factoring in increased office cooling costs.  Considerable savings are also possible from easing wear-and-tear on the computers themselves.

If you’d like to make a savings calculation for yourself or your organization — on electricity, dollars, trees, CO2 emissions — you can do that here.

Isn’t this “automatic” on most computers?

Almost all computers and monitors sold in the US today come with ENERGY-STAR energy-saving features.  But they generally don’t work unless you set them.

Both Windows and Apple/Mac systems allow you to set the amount of idle time that occurs before the system goes into “standby” or “sleep”  mode:

  • On Microsoft (Windows) systems, times are set in the Power Options section of the Control Panel.  Get there by the following path: Start > [My Computer >] Control Panel > [Performance and Maintenance >] Power Options.
  • On Apple (OS X) systems, standby and power option settings are set under System Preferences.  Go there and then select Energy Saver.

Standby/sleep modes are suitable for when your computer is idle for an hour or more.  A full system shut-down and power-off is appropriate at the end of the work day.

Will power management hurt my computer?

It’s a myth that turning computers off and on shortens their lives — unless you turn them off many, many, many times every day.  It’s also a myth that starting the computer requires a lot of “extra energy”: it actually only takes the equivalent of a few seconds of running time power.

Computers generate a lot of heat — principally from their central processor units (CPU).  Allowing a “cool down” during a power-off period will generally increase the life span of the entire system.  Allowing your computer to rest its moving parts, like the spinning hard drive, cooling fans, etc., will tend to increase the life-span of those components.

The reboot of the system that takes place when power is restored has another positive effect.  Many software patches and upgrades require a reboot to be fully installed and functional.  A computer that is only rarely rebooted may lag behind on software updates, and accordingly be more vulnerable to malware attacks.

Is there any downside to power management?

Obviously you have to consider the value of your time too.  A fully powered-down “off” computer takes a considerably longer time to restore to operational status than one in stand-by mode.  One in stand-by takes longer to restore than one that is fully on — although not much longer.

We’re not recommending you turn your system entirely off unless you plan to be away from it for a long time — such as at the end of the work day.  We do recommend setting a sleep/stand-by mode for when your system is idle for 30-60 minutes or more.

Unless your system is controlling an ongoing process, such as running/monitoring laboratory equipment, there is usually no good reason to leave it on when you are away for extended periods.  And many good reasons not to.

How does power management work?

Power management savings come from reducing hardware power to sleep levels when the computer is not fully active.   Idle-ness is defined by an absence of mouse or keyboard activity (and no on-going processes for applications) for a set time period.

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That’s right they saved hundreds of thousands of $$$. So how many Medical Centers like this exist? Well how many Major Universities are there in the US. That is right…hundreds of millions of $$$$

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The Disposable Society and Industrial Society hit the medical profession hard. They throw out and stamp out enough product to treat most of the third world. It is despicable actually. We wonder why we spend twice as much on medicine as the rest of the world and have crappier outcomes? Well once hospitals became “cost centers”, the game was pretty much over.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100224183113.htm

Going Green in the Hospital: Recycling Medical Equipment Saves Money, Reduces Waste and Is Safe

ScienceDaily (Feb. 26, 2010) — Wider adoption of the practice of recycling medical equipment — including laparoscopic ports and durable cutting tools typically tossed out after a single use — could save hospitals hundreds of millions of dollars annually and curb trash at medical centers, the second-largest waste producers in the United States after the food industry.

The recommendation, made in an analysis by Johns Hopkins researchers in the March issue of the journal Academic Medicine, noted that with proper sterilization, recalibration and testing, reuse of equipment is safe.

“No one really thinks of good hospitals as massive waste producers, but they are,” says lead author Martin Makary, M.D., M.P.H., a surgeon and associate professor of public health at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “There are many things hospitals can do to decrease waste and save money that they are not currently doing.”

Hospitals toss out everything from surgical gowns and towels to laparoscopic ports and expensive ultrasonic cutting tools after a single use. In operating rooms, some items that are never even used are thrown away — single-use devices that are taken out of their packaging must be tossed out because they could have been contaminated. Selecting such good devices for resterilization and retesting could decrease the amount of needless waste from hospitals.

And, the researchers say, hospitals could procure more items designed to be used safely more than once after being sterilized.

Hospitals, they add, are increasingly attracted to reprocessing because recycled devices can cost half as much as new equipment. Only about a quarter of hospitals in the United States used at least one type of reprocessed medical device in 2002, and while the number is growing, the practice is not yet widespread, they say. Banner Health in Phoenix, they write, saved nearly $1.5 million in 12 months from reprocessing operating room supplies such as compression sleeves, open but unused devices, pulse oximeters and more.

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One Hospital ONE point 2 million $$$. How many Hospitals are there in operation in the US? My god people wake up.

it’s jam band friday – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=om2EQ7YXork

Way to go Farmers Bank. They put up a Wind Turbine in Mt. Pulaski. When you think about it, Hospitals manytimes have some of the tallest buildings in town and the most financial muscle around. So why don’t they all sprout wind turbines and solar panels? Please see yesterdays Post.

http://www.lincolncourier.com/homepage/x1499086608/Wind-blows-energy-to-area-bank

Wind blows energy to area bank


Mount Pulaski wind

By Justin L. Fowler/GATEHOUSE NEWS SERVICE
Crews work to install the blades on a 10,000-watt wind turbine being installed to help power the Farmers Bank of Mount Pulaski on the city square in Mount Pulask Wednesday.
By John Reynolds
GateHouse News Service
Thu Mar 25, 2010, 06:05 AM CDT

Mount Pulaski, Ill. –

A high-tech wind turbine that can generate 10,000 watts of power was installed near Logan County’s oldest bank Wednesday.

The turbine, which sits atop a 120-foot tower, will supply about half, or possibly more than half, of the electricity used by Farmers Bank of Mount Pulaski.

The apparatus cost about $65,000, some of which will be offset by tax credits, said Rick Volle, president of Farmers Bank, which was established in 1872.

“There’s a lot of these going up on a larger scale. We think it’s something worth doing,” Volle said. “…We are figuring about a 12-year payoff on it, and it has a life of about 30 years.”

Installation of the turbine on the square in Mount Pulaski drew a crowd of about two-dozen people. They watched as a crane lifted the tower into the air and workmen slowly moved the base over to a concrete pad. The turbine, complete with blades, was already installed on top.

By 12:15 p.m., the tower and turbine were in place. It now stands across the street from the historic Mount Pulaski Courthouse where Abraham Lincoln argued cases.

“I guess it’s progress for our town, and the bank in particular,” said Mike Cyrulik, who watched the work from across the street. “I think it’s going to be a great addition to town.”

Cyrulik was one of the first people to stop and watch. When the big crane took over, more people came out from downtown shops to see the tower rise into the air.

“It’s pretty interesting for a little town,” Cyrulik said.

Mount Pulaski, about 25 miles northeast of Springfield, sits on a hill that rises above the surrounding farmland.

John Wyss, owner of Central Illinois Wind and Solar, the company that installed the turbine, said downtown Mount Pulaski is a good spot for the new technology.

( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVtCdZLtCj4 )

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Some progressive hospitals are catching on.

( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4tFX51imvQ )

http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2008/12/ann_arbor_veteran_affairs_hosp.html

Ann Arbor Veteran Affairs hospital gets wind turbine

By Steve Pepple

December 02, 2008, 7:06AM
Eliyahu Gurfinkel | The Ann Arbor NewsDarryl Snabes, left, and Jeff Means are responsible for the installation of a wind turbine on the roof of the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System building. Snabes is the local project manager and Means the regional energy manager at the VA.

A small wind turbine now spins atop the Ann Arbor Veteran Affairs hospital, contributing to the hospital’s utility needs while satisfying a new federal requirement for renewable energy.

Hospital administrators installed the vertical turbine last month as part of an ongoing plan to generate about 7.5 percent of the hospital’s energy needs from renewable energy, including wind and solar, by 2012.

“It’s a baby step, but we’re optimistic,” said Jeff Means, energy manager for VA hospitals in Michigan and nearby states.

The turbine and its installation cost about $100,000. If it is successful in generating enough energy, the hospital could install additional turbines and solar panels to generate energy, Means said.

The turbine, which weighs about 1,000 pounds, is 16 feet tall and 3 feet wide. As the wind spins the vertical turbine, a generator in its base sends direct electrical current through several boxes to transform the power into alternating current to be used by the hospital.

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There’s a strong wind agona blow.

( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4tFX51imvQ )

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People always ask me, “why did you study psychology”? I always reply, “because saving the planet Earth from Humans is all about changing behavior. Doctors are a case in point. Doctors are investors. What do they invest in? Why highly profitable things…like coal mines, plastics manufacturing, and utilities. So they know that if they change their behavior at work – even though they make money in the short run – in the long term they could lose money as the very things that make them wealthy become less profitable. They also know that their work load will drop because people stay healthier. So, while all other businesses are cutting costs through things like recycling and waste reduction on the back end and enviro friendly practices on the front end you still hear terms like “barriers”  and “hurdles” in the healthcare industry. These are polite terms for “no way” and “not in your lifetime”. In all fairness, this article is dated 2003 and in some ways that is a lifetime ago…others not so much…

http://news.thomasnet.com/IMT/archives/2003/06/medical_product.html

« The Future of the Medical Device Industry | Main | Move Over X-Rays, Welcome T-Rays »

June 5, 2003

Medical Products Struggle to Get “Green”

By Katrina C. Arabe

Designing medical products for recyclability is tough. And recapturing medical equipment for recycling is even trickier. Learn how the industry is managing the journey toward “green”:

The eco-friendliness drive is accelerating in the medical products industry, but the road to “green” is marked with many potholes. For starters, increased use of disposable products has exacerbated hospital waste. And designing medical products to be easily disassembled and recycled continues to be confounding because many medical devices are required to be extra-tough—able to endure falls and harsh sterilization. But many manufacturers, vendors and suppliers are facing such obstacles head-on.

“Two years ago you couldn’t get group purchasing organizations for hospitals to talk about environmentally preferable purchasing,” says Laura Brannen, co-director for Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E), “but now many champion the cause.” For instance, Baxter Healthcare of Illinois, one of the largest medical products manufacturers, together with group purchaser Premier Inc. and Catholic Health Care West, both of California, is trying to create an advisory group that will delve into recycling and waste-reduction issues, such as decreasing medical packaging and recycling single-use plastics.

And the H2E program is attacking the environmental problem from many fronts. “H2E hopes to provide the framework and initiate discussions on how the industry can create processes and infrastructure that develop take-back programs, or products and packaging that are stackable and returnable,” says Brannen. “H2E is also pursuing partnerships between manufacturers and distributors to establish methods that let distributors back-haul plastics to the manufacturer or plastic recyclers. The group’s ultimate goal is reaching medical device designers so products have minimal environmental impact.”

What a Waste

Hospitals produce over 6,600 tons of waste per day, estimates H2E, at least 15% more than 10 years ago due to the proliferation of disposable products. And this estimate does not even take into account the output of private medical and dental clinics, veterinarians, long-term care, laboratories and independent blood banks.

Accounting for 75-80% of a healthcare facility’s waste, solid waste is the most sizeable portion, says H2E, encompassing paper, metal, glass and plastics. Chlorinated materials, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), are especially problematic because incinerating waste with chlorinated content produces dioxins, which can cause cancer and hormonal defects. In fact, burning medical waste with chlorinated materials is the third biggest source of dioxins in the environment, says Health Care Without Harm (HCWH). And globally, waste incinerators account for 69% of dioxins, estimates HCWH.

PVC is found in a wide range of medical products, from disposable intravenous (IV) bags and tubing to bedpans and notebook binders. Additionally, it’s common in durable medical products, where it is particularly difficult to reduce because of a dearth of PVC-labeling and PVC-free devices. “A first step in reducing PVC use in these applications would be to require vendors to disclose the PVC content in their products,” says Brannen. “Medical products and their packaging are often not labeled with their contents.”

Currently, there is no U.S. industry standard that calls for the labeling of injection molded parts, says Chris Belisle, senior project engineer for injection molder Phillips Plastics Corp. of Wisconsin. However, several internationally owned medical OEMS are preparing for recycling mandates that may be enforced in the future. For example, Datex-Ohmeda Inc. of Finland, a supplier of anesthesia equipment, denotes the resin acronym on every injection molded part.

Designing for Disassembly

An even more fundamental approach to the “green” issue is designing medical products for easy dismantling and recycling—not an easy feat for many medical devices. “Common methods for making disassembly easier such as snap fits, may work well for some products, but they may not be appropriate for use in certain medical applications,” says Belisle. Unlike other products, many medical devices are required to pass demanding drop tests and to withstand severe sterilization that could damage fragile internal electronic circuits. In some cases, designing for recyclability could even negatively impact medical product design and increase production costs.

Nonetheless, some companies are incorporating recyclability concerns in product development. Says Pedro Torres, a supply manager for Datex-Ohmeda’s manufacturing plant in Wisconsin, “Taking time to review each step in a development process may at first appear to slow it down, but we found that strategic cradle-to-grave program reviews improve current products and provide cost-saving initiatives for future programs.”

Design engineers can take certain measures to promote a product’s future recyclability. According to Jack Pape, a VP with rotational molding company, Meese Orbitron Dunne Co., New Jersey, engineers can reduce the priciest part of disassembly—labor—by incorporating simple hinges. Furthermore, he recommends specifying recyclable materials, such as linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE), as well as materials that are commonly used and likely to remain in wide circulation.

Engineers should also refrain from modifying the material through additives, textures and foaming agents because this drives up the cost of recycling and diminishes the recycled material’s potential market and value, Pape says. Moreover, he advises engineers to consider the effect of weathering—dirt, debris, and wear and tear—on recyclability. Finally, he tells engineers to steer clear of adhesive labels and inks whenever possible because they are difficult and expensive to remove.

Other Hurdles

Pape’s company already designs many products for future recyclability, but he acknowledges that it’s only a start. “Just because a product can be recycled doesn’t mean it will be economically viable to do so when the product is ready to enter the waste stream,” he explains. “Nor is there any guarantee there will be a market for the recycled material.”

And that’s not all design engineers must take into account. Another issue is how the price of the recycled material will match up against that of the virgin material at the product’s anticipated date of obsolescence or disposal. “Further clouding the forecast,” he notes, “are the possibilities that new materials may be developed after manufacturing that render recycled material useless. And environmental regulations may be enacted after manufacturing that could eliminate use of the material or increase the cost to use it.”

“After considering these possibilities, design engineers must address their greatest and most costly challenge: how the product will be removed from the waste stream and transferred into the recycling stream, assuming there’s a market for the material,” continues Pape. He points out that there is currently no government-sponsored collection program for obsolete medical equipment. “Who will bear the responsibility for tagging a given product for recycling at the end of its useful life and who will assume the cost of shipping it to a recycling operation that can accommodate the given material?” he asks.

Long Road Ahead

Indeed, medical product manufacturers, vendors and suppliers have their work cut out for them. But through more conscientious purchasing, eco-friendly design and established recycling programs, they can make steady progress in their long journey toward a “green” medical products industry.

Source: Think “RECYCLE” for Medical Products
Jean M. Hoffman
Medical Design News

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The link to the article was broken so I printed only the author’s name for attribution. However here is the drirect link to the publication and part of a 2008 article. Apparently GREEN In Medicine has gotten a bit more lively:

http://www.medicaldesignnews.com

http://medicaldesign.com/engineering-prototyping/sustainable_design_medical/index.html

Sustainable design for medical devices

Mar 1, 2008 12:00 PM, Chris Kadamus, Principal Design Engineer, Cambridge Consultants, Cambridge, Mass.

Chris Kadamus
Chris Kadamus

Medical products account for an enormous amount of the solid, industrial, and chemical waste in developed countries throughout the world. In the U.S. alone, hospitals produce more than 6,600 tons of waste per day, including 800 tons of non-hazardous, and potentially recyclable, plastic parts. In addition, many medical products use hazardous chemicals and solvents during manufacture or include materials that can be harmful if not disposed of properly. Disposal of non-hazardous and hazardous medical waste can be costly from an environmental and financial point of view. As such, it could benefit the medical-device industry to embrace sustainable design, a concept in which products are evaluated in terms of financial impact and social and environmental impact as well.

Historically, the medical-device industry as a whole has been risk averse. This is primarily because of stringent FDA regulations, fear that alternate methods or materials may compromise patient health, and an overarching fear of legal liability. Adding design for sustainability to an already rigorous set of design requirements, including biocompatibility and aseptic assembly, can put an additional burden on design teams whose primary goals are time-to-market and FDA compliance.

Furthermore, much of the medical-device industry generates most of their revenue from disposable products. Approximately 90% of medical-device waste consists of items designated for one-time use. Fears of contamination, the high costs of sterilization and reprocessing, and the desire for continuous revenue have firmly anchored the disposable products’ business model in the minds of industry leaders.

There are, however, a number of driving factors and significant competitive advantages in bringing sustainable design to the medical-device industry. First, while the U.S. has lagged in the ratification of environment legislation, the European Union has moved to ban some hazardous materials, promote recycling and encourage energy efficiency using legislation. Standards such as WEEE (Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment), RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment), REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals), and the EuP regulations (Energy Using Products), while not currently applicable to the U.S. or enforced for many medical products, have gained significant support in recent years. Many experts agree it is only a matter of time before these or similar standards will be enacted in the U.S. and become applicable to the medical-device industry.

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Risk adverse my ass.

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I had originally planned on taking a look at how much an X-Ray costs in energy terms. The Healthcare industry sucks up huge amounts of energy. Another thing I planned on looking at is their huge computer usage. Like utility companies, hospitals are nothing but giant billing agencies, add to that all of the data they must store and a hospital has got to be gulping the juice. This articles points out that ALL BURNING Behavior is much like most medical behavior, just plain sloppy living.

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1907514,00.html

The Key to Fixing Health Care and Energy: Use Less

Our health-care crisis and our energy crisis are complex dilemmas made of many complex problems. But our biggest problem in both health care and energy is essentially the same simple problem: we use too much. And in both cases, there’s a simple explanation for much of the problem: our providers get paid more when we use more.

Undoing these waste-promoting incentives — the “fee-for-service” payment system that awards more fees to doctors and hospitals for providing more services, and the regulated electricity rates that reward utilities for selling more power and building more plants — would not solve all our health-care and energy problems. But it would be a major step in the right direction. President Obama has pledged to pass massive overhauls of both sectors this year, but if Congress lacks the stomach for comprehensive reforms — and these days it’s looking like Kate Moss in the stomach department — a more modest effort to realign perverse incentives could take a serious bite out of both crises. (See pictures of Cleveland’s smart approach to health care.)

Everyone knows we use too much energy. Our addiction to fossil fuels is torching the planet, empowering hostile petro-states and straining our wallets. Meanwhile, studies by scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and elsewhere suggest that more than half of our energy is lost through inefficiencies, calculations that don’t even include the energy we fritter away through wasteful behavior like leaving lights on or idling cars. We’re on course to increase electricity usage an extra 30% by 2030, which could require trillions of dollars’ worth of new emissions-belching power plants, so it would be much better to eliminate the usage that doesn’t add to our quality of life.

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Please read the rest of the brief article. It is thought provoking.

More on Green Medical Technology tomorrow.

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We will get back to energy use and Healthcare tomorrow. This is such an obvious linkage that I thought I would put it up.

http://www.businessgreen.com/business-green/news/2259898/obama-healthcare-victory-clears

Obama’s healthcare victory clears path for climate change bill

As Democrats secure historic healthcare reforms, fresh details emerge of proposed climate change bill
James Murray, BusinessGreen, 22 Mar 2010
President Obama

The chances of US climate change legislation passing this year received a major boost after President Obama secured victory in his historic battle to pass healthcare reforms late last night.

The successful House vote on the legislation following over a year of intense and fraught negotiations will clear a path for the administration to turn to its next large piece of administrative business: climate change.

Some senior Democrat Senators have suggested that following such a long battle to pass healthcare legislation the Senate will have “no appetite” to deal with a climate change bill that is likely to prove equally contentious.

However, both the administration and Democrat leaders in the Senate and House of Representatives remain adamant that they want to pursue a vote this year and with the party still behind in the polls ahead of November’s mid-term elections the race is now on to move the legislation forward as quickly as possible.

The key healthcare vote comes just days after the compromise version of the climate change bill being prepared by the bi-partisan trio of Senators Democrat John Kerry, Republican Lindsey Graham, and independent Joe Lieberman, received a further boost when both environmental and industrial groups signaled their support for the proposed legislation.

In a surprise move, Bruce Josten, the top lobbyist at the US Chamber of Commerce, told reporters last week that the work being done by the three senators was “largely in synch” with the business group’s views.

Josten stopped short of fully endorsing the bill, but following a meeting with the Senator’s last Wednesday he struck a markedly different tone to the outright opposition to previous versions of the bill that the Chamber adopted last year.

“The fairest comment would be, directionally speaking, the way they are trying to conform and shape this bill I would suggest is largely in sync with what most people in American industry think is the direction you are going to have to go if you are going to have a successful program,” he told reporters.

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Yes I know I am a google whore. It’s been said before. Here is the deal however. If the Healthcare Industry…and that is what it is, an Industry, cut their energy cost tomorrow, they could pass that savings on to you and “bend the healthcare curve down”.

http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/consumptionbriefs/cbecs/pbawebsite/health/health_howuseenergy.htm

EALTH CARE BUILDINGS


How do they use energy and how much does it cost?

Total Energy Use by Fuel Type

Reference 1:  What is a Btu?

Health care buildings account for 11 percent of all commercial energy consumption, using a total of 561 trillion Btu of combined site electricity, natural gas, fuel oil, and district steam or hot water.  They are the fourth highest consumer of total energy of all the building types (see total energy figure on home page).

Natural gas and electricity are the predominant fuels used in health care buildings, with natural gas used a bit more than electricity.  Health care buildings are more likely to use district heat than most building types.

Site electricity is the amount of electricity consumed within the building; electricity use can also be expressed as primary electricity, which includes the energy consumed in generating and transmitting electricity.  Health care buildings used 637 trillion Btu of primary electricity, which brings the total energy consumption for health care buildings up to 987 trillion Btu, or 9 percent of total primary consumption for all commercial buildings.

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Some estimates put it as low as 9%, but that would be real savings.

http://managedhealthcareexecutive.modernmedicine.com/mhe/Exclusives/Healthcare-facilities-account-for-9-of-energy-cons/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/569619

Employees and executives are being called upon to assist as organizations implement “green” systems within healthcare facilities. The term “green building” or “sustainability” can mean a variety of things. Commonly, however, “green” design and construction includes:

  • promoting a healthier, more productive build environment;
  • increasing energy efficiency;
  • increasing efficiency in the use of water and other scarce resources;
  • reducing the project’s impact on the surrounding environment; and
  • decreasing liquid and solid wastes, building emissions, and other adverse impacts of the building’s operation on the broader environment.

Sustainability has particular resonance for healthcare facilities because improved indoor environmental quality demonstrably improves the health of patients, professionals, staff and visitors. Further, healthcare facilities are major generators of waste and are substantial consumers of increasingly energy and water.

Healthcare facilities generate more than 2 million tons of solid waste annually, which accounts for the majority of hospital waste disposal cost. Given a likely increase in waste disposal costs, designing or renovating a facility to more efficiently handle waste is an economic necessity.

Additionally, equipment-intensive facilities use several times more energy than office buildings, while hospitals typically use 90 to150 gallons of water per bed per day. In fact, healthcare facilities account for 9% of all commercial energy consumption in America, according to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration.

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Physician heal thyself

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This is a pretty simple (dare I say it) observation. Instead of scaring the crap out of people and tagging the polluters as the killers that they are, scientist must haggle over DATA. That’s the way to get the high school graduates all excited. Even college graduates in say, Education, Physical Ed., Social Work and other softer occupations at the college level don’t believe in something directly observable like evolution, let alone something arcane as climate destabilization. Don’t even get me started about all those people who get a “religious education”.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/235084

Sharon Begley

Their Own Worst Enemies

Why scientists are losing the PR wars.

Published Mar 18, 2010
From the magazine issue dated Mar 29, 2010

It’s a safe bet that the millions of Americans who have recently changed their minds about global warming—deciding it isn’t happening, or isn’t due to human activities such as burning coal and oil, or isn’t a serious threat—didn’t just spend an intense few days poring over climate-change studies and decide, holy cow, the discretization of continuous equations in general circulation models is completely wrong! Instead, the backlash (an 18-point rise since 2006 in the percentage who say the risk of climate change is exaggerated, Gallup found this month) has been stoked by scientists’ abysmal communication skills, plus some peculiarly American attitudes, both brought into play now by how critics have spun the “Climategate” e-mails to make it seem as if scientists have pulled a fast one.

Scientists are lousy communicators. They appeal to people’s heads, not their hearts or guts, argues Randy Olson, who left a professorship in marine biology to make science films. “Scientists think of themselves as guardians of truth,” he says. “Once they have spewed it out, they feel the burden is on the audience to understand it” and agree.

That may work if the topic is something with no emotional content, such as how black holes form, but since climate change and how to address it make people feel threatened, that arrogance is a disaster. Yet just as smarter-than-thou condescension happens time after time in debates between evolutionary biologists and proponents of intelligent design (the latter almost always win), now it’s happening with climate change. In his 2009 book, Don’t Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style, Olson recounts a 2007 debate where a scientist contending that global warming is a crisis said his opponents failed to argue in a way “that the people here will understand.” His sophisticated, educated Manhattan audience groaned and, thoroughly insulted, voted that the “not a crisis” side won.

Like evolutionary biologists before them, climate scientists also have failed to master “truthiness” (thank you, Stephen Colbert), which their opponents—climate deniers and creationists—wield like a shiv. They say the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a political, not a scientific, organization; a climate mafia (like evolutionary biologists) keeps contrarian papers out of the top journals; Washington got two feet of snow, and you say the world is warming?

There is less backlash against climate science in Europe and Japan, and the U.S. is 33rd out of 34 developed countries in the percentage of adults who agree that species, including humans, evolved. That suggests there is something peculiarly American about the rejection of science. Charles Harper, a devout Christian who for years ran the program bridging science and faith at the Templeton Foundation and who has had more than his share of arguments with people who view science as the Devil’s spawn, has some hypotheses about why that is. “In America, people do not bow to authority the way they do in England,” he says. “When the lumpenproletariat are told they have to think in a certain way, there is a backlash,” as with climate science now and, never-endingly, with evolution. (Harper, who studied planetary atmospheres before leaving science, calls climate scientists “a smug community of true believers.”)

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This article says it all. Why did America lose 16 million jobs is the last three recessions? Because the Rich and the Capitalists got bored with making money the old fashioned way and decided playing the markets was easier and more fun. Why beside laziness have they decided that America will become a second class country? Oh they blame the unions, deficit spending, socialism etc., but all the elites really know right now is that greed is good and attacking other countries is really profitable.

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/bus/industries/energy/stories/DN-wind_18bus.ART0.State.Edition1.3cefd15.html

Report says China is squeezing U.S. firms out of its massive wind-power market

12:00 AM CDT on Thursday, March 18, 2010

By JIM LANDERS / The Dallas Morning News
jlanders@dallasnews.com

WASHINGTON – U.S. companies are getting squeezed out of the big Chinese wind-power market even as Dallas investors are bringing Chinese firms here via a big wind farm in Texas, according to a new industry report.

“They’ve used every measure you could possibly think of to enhance production of renewable energy equipment in China,” said report author Alan Wolff of the trade law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP.

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk won a pledge from the Chinese last fall to drop rules giving preference to Chinese makers of wind-power equipment. But Kirk’s office hasn’t seen any evidence that the pledge has been carried out, said spokeswoman Carol Guthrie.

Meanwhile, Chinese manufacturers are entering the U.S. wind market under a joint venture led by Dallas investor Cappy McGarr.

McGarr’s U.S. Renewable Energy Group, with Cielo Wind Power LP of Austin and China’s Shenyang Power Group, is planning a $1.5 billion, 600-megawatt wind farm on 36,000 acres in West Texas.

Several U.S. senators have complained that the West Texas project would use hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. economic stimulus funds for wind turbines built in China. They introduced a bill this month that would halt federal funding of renewable energy projects until “buy American” requirements are written into law.

McGarr’s Chinese partners announced plans last week to build a wind turbine factory in Nevada, and McGarr says most of the jobs for the West Texas project will be American.

“A minimum of 70 percent of each wind turbine in the … project, including the massive towers and blades, will be wholly manufactured in the United States and made entirely of American steel,” McGarr said.

Dewey & LeBoeuf’s report on China’s renewable energy equipment market was done for a U.S. industry group, the National Foreign Trade Council, where concern about China’s market restrictions and treatment of foreign firms is growing.

“If you’re not operating under a rule-of-law country, if you have no place to adjudicate, and there are places where the country has stacked the deck against you, you may look for somewhere else” to do business, said trade council president Bill Reinsch.

Some wind power advocates are urging everyone to calm down and are particularly concerned about the Senate “Buy American” bill.

“This proposal would torpedo one of the most successful job creation efforts of the Recovery Act [the economic stimulus program], which has already preserved half of the 85,000 American jobs in the U.S. wind industry,” said Denise Bode, president of the American Wind Energy Association.

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