A 136-bed, acute-care hospital located in Newnan, Georgia, Piedmont Newnan Hospital offers 24-hour emergency services, women’s services and general medical/surgical services to residents of Coweta County and the surrounding communities.
As one of the first LEED-certified hospitals in Georgia, Piedmont Newnan Hospital is a pioneer in the healthcare field. LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system that provides verification that a building was designed and built using environmentally sustainable materials and systems. Hospitals often have a hard time meeting LEED standards given the tremendous amount of energy they use and the fact that patient equipment and state of the art technology cannot be comprised.
Despite these barriers, Piedmont Newnan identified several ways in which they could improve upon their energy use, including a very innovative partnership with the Coweta County Water and Sewage Authority, whereby the County supplies Piedmont Newnan with non-potable (non-treated water) for use in its landscape irrigation system.
This partnership was the first of its kind for Coweta County and included laying an 8” water efficient, force main pipe, or “purple pipe” as it is commonly referred to, for carrying non-potable water over two miles in length from the waste treatment plant to the hospital. The total cost for this pipe was $310,000, $165,000 more than the cost of a regular pipe.
Given this high cost, Piedmont Newnan did not believe it could implement this project.
But then, Piedmont learned about the Grants to Green Initiative and applied for and was awarded an Implementation Grant for $50,000 in November 2011. Piedmont Newnan was required to match the grant with $50,000 of its own funds, but spent more than $100,000 of its own funds on the project.
Piedmont Newnan is very appreciative of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta’s support. According to Ken Flynn, Piedmont Healthcare’s Senior Project Manager who oversaw the implementation of the “purple pipe,” Grants to Green “opened the doors again” to doing this project.
While the cost to implement this water-conscious landscaping was more expensive up front, the operational savings will be recouped quickly over time. Savings are derived as follows:
- For non-potable water, the unit price is $2.00 per 1,000 gallons.
- For potable water, the unit price is $10.37 per 1,000 gallons.
- Over the course of a year, the Hospital would spend just $8,800 for non-potable water and over $45,000 for potable water.
- Additionally, the use of non-potable water will save the hospital $36,828 annually according to the County’s landscape architect and reduce water usage by 50%.
Beyond these tremendous financial savings, the project also greatly reduces energy usage. “We’re saving energy because we are not having the County treat the water. We’re essentially using reclaimed or recycled water,” says Flynn.
In accordance with the LEED requirements, Piedmont Newnan has taken several other strides to increase its energy and water efficiency and create a truly green hospital. For example, the hospital has adopted recycling, installed high-efficiency vehicle designated parking spaces and bicycle racks and purchased high-efficiency equipment and systems that will help dramatically reduce energy and water usage and costs.
As a pioneer in this area among healthcare providers, Piedmont Newnan Hospital hopes that others will learn from its experience and begin to adopt similar practices in an effort to lower costs for the healthcare system as a whole.