Q&A On Award-Winning ‘Green’ Practices with Ethan McConnell, VP, All Kids Pediatric Dentistry
q&a On Award-Winning 'Green' Practices with Ethan McConnell, VP, All Kids Pediatric Dentistry
The most recent recipient of the American Association of Dental Office Management’s (AADOM) annual Green Leader Award, Ethan McConnell, Vice President of Charlotte, NC-based All Kids Pediatric Dentistry, was selected for his initiative and commitment to adopting green practices in his dental office. Made possible by a grant from the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, AADOM created the award as part of its Green Leader Initiative, which aims to empower practice managers to reduce their practices’ environmental footprint and lead their teams in becoming part of dentistry’s green future
Q: You use everything from BPA-free dental materials to solar panels for power. Why was it important for you to take steps toward a ‘greener' practice?
A: My wife and I share the same philosophy regarding how we utilize our resources. Whether it’s using fabric bags at the grocery store or avoiding single-use plastic, there is always something we could be doing better. We decided to apply this value to how we run our dental practice, thinking about how going green will affect us long-term. We believe that we are stewards of the things we have in this world, caretaking for the next generation. Our daughter’s children should be able to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and enjoy nature. What better way to support that than by practicing green values now in our business?
Q: What advice can you give to other practices on going green?
A: Every journey begins with small steps—recycling paper, buying recycled toner, turning off lights and using motion sensors, etc. Then there are bigger leaps like purchasing solar panels, replacing the hot water tank with an instant hot water heater, and replacing fluorescent tube lights with LED tubes that use 50% less energy. These leaps were justified with math. I’m a heavy user of Excel and I enjoyed building out Excel spreadsheets showing how each one of these investments paid off in the long run (5 to 10 years). The solar panels were an interesting leap to take—imagine going to a store and having 2 options to purchase an item: 1) buy just what you need at an ever-increasing price each visit, or 2) buy an item at the cost of a 6-year supply, yet have that supply for the life of your business. The latter model is how we justified our solar panels purchase. In this case, it’s not just going green for the environment, it’s also helping to save the green in our bank account. Going green is usually a smart move fiscally, but for those who think it’s a waste of money, not being green costs more in the long run. Remember, it’s important to make decisions for the long run.
Q: Has promoting sustainability been beneficial in marketing your practice?
A: While I don’t have hard numbers on this, it is something we market. We do list it on our web page, but it’s not something we actively promote. I believe the community sees it more as our contribution and proof that we are living out our values, and that’s enough for us.