Go Green

This story originally appeared in our March 2010 issue. Visit Dr. McCormick’s website for the latest information on her practice.

Preserving and protecting the environment has always been an important cause for Cheryl McCormick, OD. What started in high school with writing papers about recycling and the greenhouse effect—now known as global warming—has turned into an office-wide project in Dr. McCormick’s new practice in Vincennes, Ind. “It’s good to set an example for our patients,” Dr. McCormick says. “I am committed to protecting the environment and preserving our natural resources. If patients see someone they respect, like their eye doctor, doing this, it may have more of an impact on them than if they read about it in an article in National Geographic.”

With years of experience with conservation, Dr. McCormick analyzed every detail of her new office. So when it came time to remodel an office on Main Street, in the historic heart of downtown, she gave American Colonial design a green twist.

Support local manufacturers. Dr. McCormick’s examination chairs and stands are from a manufacturing company based in Cincinnati, Ohio. “Instead of ordering from overseas, my equipment was trucked over,” she says. There’s a practice-building benefit to helping the environment and the local economy: “I left the tags on that say Made in the USA. Patients say they think that is really great.”

Use local products. When it came to hardwood floors and frame cabinets, Dr. McCormick once again chose to stay local. Most of the wood—primarily sassafras, ash and walnut—was grown on a farm in nearby Knox County.

Invest for the future. Some products may cost more now but will help you down the road, Dr. McCormick says. For example, the LED light bulbs she bought have a higher price tag than regular bulbs. But it’s energy-efficient lighting that should cost only about $2 a year in electricity per bulb, which can last from 10-20 years. Opting for cheaper incandescent light bulbs that use more electricity is penny-wise but pound-foolish, she says.

Use environmentally friendly products. Every step counts. She chose a paint with low-volatile organic compounds to reduce toxins that pollute indoor air. She also looks for paper products—including printer paper, toilet paper or paper towels—made from recycled products. “Patients who want coffee are given a mug,” she says. No paper cups there!

Go paperless. Electronic medical records will be required by law within the next few years, but a paperless office also helps the environment. Dr. McCormick’s computer system will help her be paperfree and also provide a way to e-prescribe and file medical billing claims online.

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