by Nancy Ryerson
, Staff Writer | January 09, 2014
From the January 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
Providence Newberg Medical Center was the first hospital in the country
to run on 100 percent green energy and earn Gold LEED certification. Of course, being first wasn’t easy — hospital administrators had to trust that the up-front costs would be recouped through long-terms savings. CEO Lori Van Zanten talked with DOTmed Business News about how right they were, and how other hospitals can convince their teams to invest in sustainability.
What is your background? How did you get to where you are today?
I began in health care more than 30 years ago as a nurse. Since that time, I’ve continued my education and went into management. Prior to coming to Providence Newberg Medical Center, I served as assistant administrator and vice president of operations at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, Wash. During my time at Providence St. Peter, I led the operations for the 390-bed medical center and linked services and programs within a five-county region to improve community health, patient satisfaction and quality standards.
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I know your hospital was the first to be Gold LEED certified. What was the process of making that happen like?
Before pen was put to paper on the design of the replacement hospital, Providence leaders and other stakeholders held an eco-charrette — or an intense brainstorming forum — and focused solely on green strategies and ideas that would create an exemplary, high-performance building. The end result was to go for LEED certification. Having buy-in from all the stakeholders at the beginning of the project to go for LEED certification helped create the synergy we needed to be successful. At that time, there were no specific standards from green construction for hospitals. However, we knew that in the long run we would save on energy costs and be true to one of our core values of stewardship.
Since this was the first hospital we had built from the ground up in nearly 30 years at the time, we partnered with others who had experience in green construction. We were fortunate to work with Green Building Services in nearby Portland. They helped guide us through the process to ensure we earned every possible LEED point.
What are some of your other important sustainability projects?
Soon after opening the medical center we installed solar panels, increased our recycling efforts and even began composting waste from our kitchen. In the spring, a group of employees will plant and maintain a garden on our campus for fresh vegetables and herbs that the kitchen can use.