Going Green: How to make your dental practice more sustainable

8 Apr 2016 8:15 AM

As concerns about climate change continue to escalate, responsible business owners are constantly asking themselves how to make their practices more sustainable.

Adopting the principles of sustainable building – also known as green building – will not only help you to do your part for the environment, but will also reduce your energy bills and give you an advantage over your carbon-guzzling competitors.

Here are five ways you can make your dental practice more sustainable:

Review your construction materials

If you’re considering renovating your dental practice with a new interior fit-out, talk to your contractor about the construction materials they are planning to use.

Ensure all materials are GreenTag certified, and websites like www.ecospecifier.com.au provide information about the sustainability status of a range of products and material.

For example, at Cassin & Sons, we use GreenTag-certified Corian bench tops that are durable, re-workable, easy to clean and do not promote bacteria growth.

 

Audit your suppliers

How green are your suppliers? Talk to them about their sustainability policies and consider how they ship and package products, the materials they use and whether they’re pulling their weight as a green operator.

If you don’t like their answers, don’t be scared to shop around. Looking for a locally produced alternative, for example, will significantly reduce the environmental cost of freight.

 

Install better staff facilities

You can take a handful of carbon-spewing cars off the road every day by installing better staff facilities in your practice.

Putting in a staff shower and cycle storage facility, for example, will encourage your team to ditch four wheels for two – and ease the demands on your parking area.

 

Maximise natural light

There are many ways the design of your practice can maximise the use of natural light to not only give your patients a psychological boost but also to cut down on your lighting demands.

On a structural level, consider the placement of windows and the use of skylights and interior courtyards in low-light areas.

But you don’t have to tear your building apart to make an impact. Changing your bulbs to low-energy LEDs, avoiding light-blocking window treatments and blinds, and hanging a large mirror in your reception area can all help to maximise the use of natural light.

 

Heating and cooling

This is one of the biggest energy drains you’ll face, but a little smart design can help you drastically cut your consumption.

First, opt for double-glazed windows that will help retain heat in winter and keep it out in summer. And ensure you can heat and cool your practice in separate, designated zones that can be closed off from each other to create independent mini-climates.

For example, while the temperature in your reception area needs to be maintained at a comfortable level throughout the day, are there other areas – such as sterlisation rooms or spaces for part-time admin staff – that are only used for part of the day? If so, don’t waste energy, and money, heating and cooling empty rooms.

 

The expert tradespeople at Cassin & Sons can help you design a sustainable dental practice. Call us now on 1300 122 774 to get started.