What does “green” really mean?
In the most basic sense, it’s a color. In a more abstract sense, it’s the trend of living on Mother Nature’s side. But “green” is much more than a color or trend. It is a decision to align with a healthier lifestyle – one where your decision to reduce, reuse and recycle is intentional. When you protect your environment, you’re nurturing a healthier place to live, breathe and smile.
At Beaverton TenderCare, our definition of “green” includes four important factors: 1) Reduction, 2) Conservation, 3) Prevention and 4) Location.
The start of the green movement in our dental office was reduction. We took a long and hard look at the areas in which dental offices can be wasteful. Next, we outlined steps we could take to be more mindful of our resources. Here’s how we reduce waste:
- We’re paperless! We have eliminated paper-plastic barriers, moved to digital patient charting, a paperless credit card terminal, and reduction in paper use for administrative and marketing efforts.
- We recycle. We have implemented a recycling program in our office.
- Green process. We use steam sterilization and have reduced waste in dental materials and processes.
After we found ways that we could reduce waste, the next step was looking for ways we could conserve the resources we already had. The main resources we use daily are energy and water.
In our office, energy is everything from turning on the lights to powering up our computers and X-ray machines. Here’s how we conserve energy:
- Green policies. We monitor our energy use and have implemented energy-conserving office policies.
- Green equipment. We use energy efficient dental equipment and have been assessed for HVAC efficiency.
- Green lighting. We have installed motion sensor lights and LED Exit signs, as well as implemented a fluorescent bulb safe disposal policy.
And now onto water. We are blessed to live in a part of the world where water is easily accessible; however, it does not mean we should take advantage of this precious resource. Here’s how we conserve water:
- Green plumbing. We have installed water-conserving equipment, including plumbing fixtures and hands-free auto shut off faucets. We also use waterless hand sanitizer.
- Green policies. We have implemented water conserving policies and best practices.
- Green awareness. Did you know the average person wastes at least 90 glasses of water every day by leaving the tap running while they brush their teeth? We promote the Eco Dentistry Association’s Save 90 A Day
- Green heat. We have removed our hot water tank and installed a tankless water heater.
Prevention is a special part of the “green” movement. Instead of focusing on how much of a particular resource we are using, we focus on what resource we are using in the first place and if there is a more eco-friendly alternative. It’s all about being proactive and researching the best methods to support a healthy environment.
Here’s how we prevent pollution of our environment:
- We’re paperless. We use digital imaging, keep in contact with patients electronically and use recycled materials when we do have to print.
- Green cleaning. We use environmentally sound but effective surface disinfectants. We responsibly dispose of amalgam (mercury) materials and have eliminated the use of glutaraldehyde.
- No bugs here! We have pest management.
- Green equipment. We use high-tech pollution preventing equipment, like our CAD/CAM system for dental lab work and a lube free compressor.
- Green commute. We give our employees incentives to reduce vehicle emissions. We also provide preferred parking for eco-friendly vehicles.
- Green people. We contract with green vendors.
- Green building. We use pollution-preventing green building practices. Our paint, carpet and adhesives don’t have VOCs. We provide additional air filtration and have assessed that our indoor air flow HVAC does not use CFs or HCFCs.
Beaverton TenderCare Dental was the first dental practice in all of Oregon to be awarding Gold Level Certification status as a GreenDoc office with the Eco-Dentistry Association. Green healthcare aims to reduce or eliminate whenever possible: energy consumption, waste creation, pollution and hazardous materials.
We control what goes on inside the walls of our dental practice, but we are also intentional in spreading green awareness outside of our location. The mission of Beaverton TenderCare isn’t limited to the multi-unit, urban building in our square block of the world. We pour out into our community as well. We seek to actively communicate with the City of Beaverton and Chamber of Commerce to support their efforts in promoting sustainable and green business practices. We also participate in charity and community programs.
Come visit us! Drive by Beaverton TenderCare Dental on 144th Avenue off of the SW Tualatin Valley Highway. You can also connect with us via the public transportation system that runs past our building.