Managing pharmaceutical waste and conserving energy at hospitals and health care facilities are both difficult and time-consuming, ongoing processes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not have specific regulations for managing pharmaceutical waste. According to the EPA, a proposal is being developed and scheduled to be released this year that will address the management of hazardous pharmaceutical waste. Until then, facilities must manage all waste in accordance with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
For help on managing pharmaceutical waste, conserving energy, and number of other environmental compliance issues at health care facilities, the Pollution Prevention and Compliance Assistance Information for the Healthcare Industry is a great resource. This website is recommended by the EPA and provides a plethora of information on various environmental topics as they pertain to the healthcare industry.
The Energy Efficiency section of site provides information on energy use in hospitals, how hospitals can achieve ENERGY STAR ratings, and approaches to receiving funding for energy efficiency. The ENERGY STAR program is built around a five-stage strategy as displayed below:
- Stage 1: Green Lights. Green Lights focuses on lighting systems. Energy savings accrue from using proven, reliable lighting technologies to achieve optimal light levels, gain control over the hours of operation, and maintain or improve lighting quality. Participants across the country average a 48% reduction in lighting related energy use.
- Stage 2: Building Tune-up A building tune-up saves energy by eliminating waste and returning the building equipment to the intended calibrations and settings.
- Stage 3: Other Load Reductions. The building envelope can yield tremendous opportunities for additional load reductions on the mechanical system. Installing window film, weather stripping to seal windows and doors, roof and wall insulation, and energy-efficient office equipment can further contribute to significant reductions in heating and cooling loads.
- Stage 4: Air Handling Systems. The average building ventilation system is 38% larger than necessary. Considering that the ventilation systems can account for up to 30% of the energy use in a building, there is a huge potential for savings.
- Stage 5: Other Heating and Cooling Plant Improvements. This stage is the culmination for the previous load reductions in stages 1-4. Heating and cooling for most buildings is accomplished by chillers, boilers, or packaged direct-expansion systems. Most of the load reductions obtained through the previous four stages benefit the cooling side. However, efficiency modifications to the boilers and other gains from sealing air-infiltration and improving insulation can negate any heat losses in the heating season.
The site also provides assistance on managing pharmaceuticals. This section details the properties of pharmaceuticals, risks, compliance requirements, disposal, and additional resources. The site also provides an online tool that healthcare facilities can use to try and reduce the amount of pharmaceutical waste being generated.
The site also includes information on regulated medical waste, waste reduction, facilities management, dental offices, and additional regulations & standards. EES is also available to assist healthcare facilities with any environmental compliance and energy management projects. For our help, contact us here.