News Center

Thursday, August 2, 2012

St. Francis Health takes extra steps to conserve water, electricity during drought

INDIANAPOLIS –  As drought conditions continue to deepen throughout Central Indiana and force water usage restrictions and burn bans, Franciscan St. Francis Health is taking additional steps to conserve resources at its Indianapolis and Mooresville campuses.

The U.S. Drought Monitor reports that portions of central Indiana – including Marion, Johnson and Morgan counties – are classified as being in “extreme drought.”

“One of our bedrock values is the commitment to be good stewards of resources at our hospitals and facilities,” said Robert J. Brody, president and chief executive officer. “Given the climate conditions and the uncertainty of any immediate relief, we are taking further steps to reduce our water consumption and more closely monitor our utilities – none of which will affect the safety and comfort of our patients.”

Effective immediately or to be phased in soon at our Indianapolis and Mooresville campuses will:

  •  Use disposable dishes and cutlery for customers at the Terrace CafĂ©. Discontinue the use of the cafeteria pulper, a machine which shreds food waste. With both measures in place, more than  2,400 gallons of water will be saved every day.
  • Use disposable cloths for surface cleaning.
  •  Defer power-washing of sidewalks and bricks and sprinkler testing.
  •  Defer fire hydrant testing while remaining in compliance with regulations.
  •  Reduce the washing of hospital vehicles by at least 50 percent.
  • Increase usage of bottled water (both one and five-gallon containers) to ensure sufficient quantities are on hand for reserves.
  • Test well water for personal consumption safety if needed.  

 Additionally, the hospitals will make more efficient use of electricity by:

  •  Turning off lights in storerooms, unoccupied offices, restrooms and other similar areas.
  • Close drapes and blinds on the sunward side of buildings during daylight hours to help reduce temperatures in those areas.
  •  Increase the temperature in non-clinical areas to 76° F.
  • Wherever possible, thermostat night setbacks will be used.

Additionally, hospital officials remind the public that all campuses are designated as “smoke-free,” meaning that smoking is not permitted anywhere on Franciscan St. Francis Health properties. There have been numerous incidents of grass fires throughout Central Indiana in recent weeks caused by motorists tossing their cigarettes. Extinguishing these fires unnecessarily depletes water supplies.

There is no imminent threat of widespread water shortages, which could affect operations at the two hospitals. All hospitals are priority customers of utility companies.

Franciscan St. Francis’ smaller hospital in Carmel is not affected by these actions at this time.

“Our employees are good stewards of resources,” Brody said. They do so not only out of a sense of professional responsibility but because it is the right thing to do at all times.”