Swedish Medical Center earns honor for ‘green’ landscaping practices

March 6, 2012

By Staff

Swedish Medical Center landscapers improved the environment — and the organization’s bottom line.

The landscaping staff at Swedish/First Hill worked to qualify as a 5-Star EnviroStars group — a designated awarded to organizations based on a demonstrated commitment to reducing hazardous materials and waste.

Swedish joined more than 700 EnviroStars businesses in the area.

Several facilities in the Swedish system had a contract for spraying fungicides and insecticides on shrubs and trees. But as staffers examined the plants, soil conditions showed in need of spraying — such as aphid infestations — had disappeared. Once regular pesticide spraying stopped, birds returned to keep insect populations under control.

Swedish’s switch to the integrated pest management system saved about $10,000 per year.

The integrated pest management program is in use at Swedish/Issaquah, the 7-month-old hospital in the community, and other campuses.

“It is imperative that medical centers focus on health outside of their facilities, as well as on the inside,” said Liesl Zappler, landscape coordinator for Swedish/First Hill. “Being organic protects patients, visitors and staff, as well as the environment, and we have been able to do this at a significant cost savings.”

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