Outcomes & Initiatives
Water Conservation – Phase I
In 2005 HCL re-engineered the water flow in its tunnel washers. The result was a water savings of 20%, or 11,500,000 gallons per year. This is the amount of water over 150 families of 4 uses in a year. Denver Water awarded HCL with an incentive payment of $40,000 for these efforts.
Water Conservation – Phase II
HCL now has a wastewater recycling system that was designed and developed in-house. With this system, over 25% of the wastewater is filtered and then safely reintroduced into the tunnel washers. This system is saving another 10,000,000 gallons per year and Denver Water has Awarded HCL another $40,000 for these efforts.
The detergent and fabric softener used by HCL are formulations that are biodegradable and DfE compatible. DfE is the EPA’s “Design for the Environment” program that works with industry to improve the environmental friendliness of industry practices. In addition, the detergent was recently reformulated to contain no NPE’s, which will be regulated in the future. HCL also uses a non-chlorine bleach that is safer for the environment and can clean at lower temperatures, providing energy savings. In addition, most of HCL’s chemicals are shipped in bulk trucks, which save thousands of plastic barrels a year.
HCL has converted our lighting to high efficiency fluorescent technology. The new lighting in both the Denver and Pueblo operations saves over $25,000 each year, the equivalent of the usage of 30 Denver area homes.
Wastewater Heat Recovery
HCL utilizes a wastewater heat recovery system that recovers the heat from the wastewater and transfers it to the fresh incoming water. The system raises the incoming water by 60 degrees at a cost of only running one electrical pump. The energy this saves equates to 140,000 therms per year, which is enough to heat over 160 Denver area homes.
The most effective environmental initiative in regard to laundry/linen is utilization conservation. In this area HCL and its member hospitals have been very successful. In 2010 HCL staff in conjunction with a major Linen manufacturer developed a celery "green" bedspread. This spread weighs 15% less than the old white spread, enhances the decor of patient rooms and had the result of needing to be changed less often. Over the 2-year conversion the results have been a reduction of 3,000,000 pounds of linen each year that does not need to be washed. This is equivalent to the total linen usage for three large Front Range area hospitals. We continue to work with our hospitals with initiatives to further reduce usage.
Reusable Pack Room
HCL competes with disposable products used throughout our hospitals, including surgical packs used by operating rooms. HCL offers a full line of reusable surgical gowns, drapes, and component packs that compete with disposable products, often saving the facilities up to 25% and taking disposable products out of the trash and bio waste stream.
HCL donates rejected linen, linen that is worn, stained, or torn and unusable by our hospitals, to various Colorado charities, including various Denver homeless shelters, The Denver Zoo, animal shelters and overseas charitable organizations, keeping the rejected linen out of landfills.
HCL bales the plastic bags that are used to transport the soiled linen from the hospitals to the laundries. The bales are picked up for recycling and the total volume of plastic taken out of the landfill waste stream is over 500,000 pounds annually.