| Health Care | 03.27.20

Curing hospitals’ addiction to the fossil fuels that make people sick

Green hospitals may be better prepared to deal with Covid-19.

By Nick Leiber – March 27, 2020

It’s noisy in the building systems control room at Boston Medical Center, the largest safety-net hospital and busiest emergency services operation in New England. Computers chime alerts, phones ring, and walkie-talkies crackle with updates about the systems that keep the air clean, the temperature consistent, and other functions needed for the well-being of thousands of patients and roughly 6,000 clinicians and other staff who work there. Planning for a large surge in COVID-19 cases adds an electric sense of urgency in the control room — and throughout the hospital.

In addition to helping ready facilities for the outbreak, the dispatchers are on a mission to eliminate energy waste in the massive buildings, some of which are over a century old. Thousands of sensors spread across the 1.9 million square feet of building space on the hospital’s South End campus signal the dispatchers if a steam valve registers hotter than it should, a cold stairwell threatens to burst a water pipe, or if something else requires immediate repair or maintenance by a technician. If someone opens the door to the rooftop farm, where the hospital grows thousands of pounds of produce annually to serve patients through its kitchen and food pantry, they’ll know.

Read more via The Boston Globe

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