Being Green

A Category Archive

Seattle Children’s Is Noted for Its Eco-friendly Efforts

Seattle Children’s recently won the 2010 Practice Greenhealth’s Partner for Change With Distinction Award for its extensive green efforts.

“It is an honor to receive this recognition,” shared Mitch Birchfield, director of Environmental Services. “Our overarching goal is to be a great neighbor by promoting environmental practices and supporting our increasingly green culture dedicated to the health of patients, workers and our community.”

Here is a list of highlights showing many of Children’s green efforts in 2010 that led to this award:

• Children’s recycling program increased by 34%

• Children’s staff bicycled to work 439,000 miles (avoiding 71,000 vehicle trips and saving about $136,000 in personal vehicle costs)

• 34 tons of pharmaceutical waste were diverted from landfills and waterways

• 12 tons of compostable materials from the hospital’s main campus Operating Room were diverted from the solid waste stream

• 2,000 plants, trees and groundcover were salvaged from the Laurelon Terrace construction site

• At least $25,000 were realized in cost savings to propagate plants from existing plants/trees/shrubs

• 4.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions were reduced by staff not driving alone to work

• 626 tons of mixed materials were recycled

Jeff Hughes, manager of Sustainability and Environmental Stewardship, believes it is all about sustainability as we look toward the future. “We’re pleased with the acknowledgement of our eco-friendly efforts,” he shared. “With the hospital’s master plan, we have to look at each phase of the growth process and find ways to incorporate green ideas into the plans. As part of this, we’ve planted more than 2,000 species and varietals of plants and trees from around the world that encircle the main campus and act as emotional therapy for patients, families and staff.”

Remaining Poplars Are Coming Down

All remaining poplar trees along the plaza walkway will be coming down on the Seattle Children’s Hospital construction site during the week of March 8. The poplar trees are being sent to a company that will recycle the wood for a variety of purposes. Their removal should not impact traffic but there may be some noise related to this activity during the day. The crew will fall the trees away from the hospital’s Train building toward the job site. The construction team will then remove the wood with trucks during normal working hours.

If you have questions  you can call 206-987-6197.  If you have an emergency you can call our 24-hour hotline at 206-987-7744 or you can e-mail us at

Team Makes Progress on ‘Green’ Goal

A guest blog from Todd Johnson, VP Facilities at Seattle Children’s

It’s exciting to see the progress at the current hospital expansion site. To date, the team has removed 5,333 tons of material from the construction grounds and diverted over 5,090 tons of material from going to a landfill. A key part of this effort is ‘being green’ and following sustainable practices while striving to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) status, a well-known green building rating. Read full post »

Giant Maple Tree is Moving

Seattle Children’s will move a giant maple tree from the hospital construction site this week, with plans to preserve and replant it. The tree is 50 feet tall, weighs 123,000 pounds (that’s more than 61 tons), is around 60 years old and is one of the largest trees the hospital plans to conserve in this process.

This is no ordinary move. It is tricky to transfer such a large, heavy and yet delicate tree. That’s why the hospital grounds team is working with arborists and experts who have years of experience to ensure the move goes well.

Read full post »

90% of Laurelon Terrace Materials Recycled to Date

Guest blog from Todd Johnson, vice president Facilities at Seattle Children’s

I had a chance to visit the Laurelon Terrace site late last week and was amazed as I walked the exterior. It is exciting for me to see so much activity as we prepare the site to begin the work on what will be an amazing new building. One of the most impressive accomplishments to date has been that we have been able to recycle 90% of the materials from the Laurelon Terrace condominiums and are well on our way to achieving our goal of 95%. Read full post »

Alternative commuting by Children’s staff makes a difference!

Guest Blog by: Paulo Nunes-Ueno,  Transportation Director at Seattle Children’s

Seattle Children’s staff have had a culture of alternative commuting for a while, but the coming expansion of the hospital is making those efforts even more important. This year, Seattle Children’s Transportation Department has rolled out several new initiatives to help staff get to work other than by driving alone – and we’re seeing positive results already! Read full post »

Green Spaces Heal Body and Soul

By Guest Blogger Jeff Hughes, Grounds and Sustainability Manager at Children’s

This path currently borders the hospital on the West side, just above where Laurelon Terrace is now. We’ll be incorporating more places like this, where the public can stroll, relax and take a breather from the stress of the hospital or whatever’s happening in their day.

A hospital isn’t just a building, or a facility. When done right, a hospital can be a living, breathing, thriving community. At its best, it’s a circle of hope, healing, strength and spirit. Here at Children’s, the healing power of nature has always played a role in that, and we’ll continue this tradition as we grow. Read full post »