Hospitals Take Saving the Planet Very Seriously

Dr. Manisha Karmarkar, COO, Ruby Hall Clinic Wanowarie-Clean, well-lit, spacious rooms. Check.

-Paperless facilities. Check.

-Ample exposure to natural light. Check.

-A WiFi enabled campus. Check.

These items might sound like a checklist for a luxury hotel, but it isn’t. New-age hospitals today span the line between hospital and hotel while combining a series of environmentally friendly measures.

The importance of an eco-friendly, energy-efficient, green construction project has been gaining attention globally. This ranges from the construction of private homes, offices, to even bigger set-ups such as hospital complexes. In the field of medicine, the concept of green hospitals is at its nascent stage but is taking quantum leaps all thanks to the infusion of technology.

In India, a typical healthcare center sees 65 percent of its energy consumption attributed to lighting, water consumption, and water heating. Therefore, it remains essential to involve the incorporation of green designs and concepts into the process to reduce the impact on the environment, cut down operational costs, and increase energy efficiency.

But what are these green concepts?


From the word go, architects and interior designers today incorporate energy-efficient systems and designs to make optimum use of natural resources. Maintaining a temperate internal environment, well-ventilated structures and green elements not only reduce the burden on the planet, but also have an added benefit of fostering a culture where patients heal faster.

Minimising energy costs in the design means that hospitals can spend more money on their mission - offering timely care to those in need. International bodies also laud the efforts of buildings that seek to be environmentally conscious by awarding them with LEED certifications.


According to reports hospitals in India produce 550 tons of medical waste each day — 25 percent of which is considered hazardous (infectious materials, potent chemicals, and drugs, or radioactive material).
Hospitals have implemented technologies to treat waste through autoclaves, microwave units, hybrid steam treatment systems, and other steam-based technologies.A sewage treatment plant can be used to treat hundred percent of waste water by tertiary standards, this recycled water can then be used for cooling purposes such as for air-conditioners. High-efficiency fixtures such as ultra flow water closet and sensor based urinals and taps can also help reduce the demand for fresh water. The use of alternative power sources such as wind and solar can also make operations more sustainable.


Often overlooked and unmonitored, printing results in wasteful practices and adds unnecessary costs. By going digital, an electronic health record can be made accessible to patients and doctors anytime and anywhere. With an EHR, lab results can also be retrieved much more rapidly, thus saving time and money.

Making the switch to EHR not only saves enormous amounts of paper, but has the added benefit of reducing long hours of labour and improving quality of care since electronic records reduce redundancies.


The air we breathe becomes an essential component of designing a green hospital. Exploring efficient ways of reducing the air content of toxins and contaminants across all corners of the building, hospitals are now adapting to newer technologies. HVAC systems continuously monitor the performance of the temperature and CO2 sensors monitor indoor air quality ensuring staff and patients breathe healthy air.


Every single day, a hospital feeds countless patients, visitors and staff. Quite naturally, this contributes to the hospital’s overall waste stream. Adopting sustainable food practices while managing food production becomes essential in such cases. More and more hospitals are including sustainable food practices, such as composting food waste into nutrient-rich soil used in landscaping around the hospital or adding dehydrators to disposal systems to reduce the volume of food waste sent to landfills.


Surgical care is an integral part of health care around the world, with an estimated 234 million operations performed every year. The anaesthetics used by a hospital contribute to global warming in the same proportion as emissions from 100 cars every year. In fact, a kilogram of anaesthetic gas produces 1,620kg of carbon dioxide.

Providing a sensitive approach to the environment, hospitals are now going green even in their operation theatres. With parameters such as air flows, OT set up, anaesthetic machines, types of volatile agents used, filling systems adopted and scavenging systems in place — hospitals are leaving no stone unturned in caring for the environment. A cGreen OT certification recognises such hospitals and their commitment to sustainable patient care.

Any institution that is dedicated to healing has a responsibility to maintain a healthy environment that supports patients and is well integrated with its community. By proactively demonstrating that we can tread lightly on this planet, we can do things better. That’s the real value of what we, as doctors can accomplish. As responsible entities, we should be the frontrunners of this very change and should pledge to continue to enhance the lives of the future of our community.