On December 12, 2013, at the annual Chamber of Commerce Poinsettia Awards Ceremony and luncheon, Ventura Mayor Cheryl Heitmann presented Ohana Pet Hospital with the 2013 Environmental Excellence Award. Since 2006, the City of Ventura’s Environmental Sustainability Division in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce recognizes local Ventura businesses that excel in their sustainable business practices.
“We’re extremely proud to receive this award,” said Dr. Janis Shinkawa, Veterinarian and partner at Ohana Pet Hospital. “We feel that one of the most important things we do is greening how we dispose of a constant in our business — medical waste. Since there really aren’t any green models to follow in our industry, we’re hoping that Ohana will now become that model for our industry as well as for other small businesses. In 2014, we plan to start teaching our medical recycling methods to other veterinary and medical facilities.”
Believing that the environment, wildlife and our ecosystem benefits when everyone becomes more mindful of the trash they generate and how they dispose of it, Ohana Pet Hospital, located on Telegraph Road in Ventura, incorporated environmental sustainability as a directive into their company’s mission statement and goals when they opened their doors in 2012.
“Ohana’s commitment to green business practices was demonstrated throughout the construction process, with each decision carefully considered for its environmental impact.” said Courtney Lindberg, Environmental Specialist with the City of Ventura’s Environmental Sustainability Division, and Green Business Certification Program Coordinator. “In addition to waste recycling, they’ve also been very progressive with their reuse practices and their energy and water conservation programs.”
A Sampling of Ohana Pet Hospital’s Sustainable Practices
EcoLogic Life’s Designer Cynthia Grier led the construction of the hospital , working with eco-friendly Marmoleum flooring, a USDA Certified biobased product and 100% end of life recyclable flooring from Mondo Natura. The hospital’s countertops are post-consumer recycled glass and only zero volatile organic component (VOC) paint was used.
Ohana uses recycled content rubber mats, recycled content turf in the back for the hospital animals, and a newly installed bike rack to encourage employees to ride bicycles to work.
Optimum energy efficiency is achieved through the installation of LED lighting wherever possible. LED lights can be found in their hospital logo displayed in the entryway, emergency signage, surgery lighting, dental unit lighting and exam lights. Additionally, the hospital made use of natural lighting with the installation of more windows.
Energy saving devices at the hospital includes a tank-less water heater, Energy Star washer and dryer, refrigerator, and freezer, and a new energy efficient air conditioning unit in the hospital treatment area. Low flow toilets in the bathrooms use water at a rate of 1.28 gallons per flush. Even the roof was designed in order to maintain and maximize heating and cooling through insulation.
Ohana is also a paperless practice whenever possible using a new Cornerstone software system. Paperless billing is utilized, as well as paperless Human Resources (Effortless HR) and direct deposits for checks.
“We plan to cut down on the use of paper even further by teaching clients how to take information from us via email such as estimates, instructions, receipts, etc.,” said Dr. Shinkawa, “and we use a digital radiograph and a digital dental radiograph system that loads images into patients electronic files without the need of films or chemicals for radiographs.”
At Ohana, recycling bins are conveniently located throughout the hospital. In the kitchen, the staff use washable ceramic dishes, mugs and silverware for take-out and eat-ins. Reusable canvas carrier bags are given to clients when they purchase pet food, and the installation of a reverse osmosis water system reduces the need for bottled water.
The hospital only uses biodegradable cleaning products and purchases office supplies with recycled content, including pens, magnetic cards, print paper, file folders, and stationary (cards, letters, envelopes).
Another new reuse program at Ohana involves the reuse of drapes from Community Memorial Hospital.
“We started a project with the city to reuse hospital surgical drapes (ones that have never touched a human patient) that were originally used as covering only. We can use them at our hospital for our surgery packs and we use them on a daily basis at Ohana.”
Staff and employees are educated on green practices and encouraged to come up with ideas that can be implemented.
“We’re truly honored and grateful to have our efforts be acknowledged with the 2013 Environmental Excellence Award,” said Shinkawa. “We’re also happy and proud to say that we are living our dream – taking care of our wonderful pets and working to do our best to take care of the environment at the same time.”
Ohana Pet Hospital
4547 Telephone Road
Ventura, CA 93003
Phone: (805) 658-7387
–Maryann Ridini Spencer for SustainableVentura.TV