May/June 2007

Task Force Focuses on Energy and Environmental Stewardship


Catholic Health Initiatives formed a task force to help market-based organizations save on energy costs and receive recognition for their achievements in energy conservation and environmental stewardship.

The Environment and Energy Task Force grew from an effort to collect data on energy use across the Catholic Health Initiatives system. “During the past few years, we collected data from about 50 of our hospitals,” said Dennis Smith, assistant director of facility services for Catholic Health Initiatives. “That gave us a sense of our system-wide energy usage. We also realized that any effort to conserve energy goes hand-in-hand with efforts to protect the environment by reducing the waste stream and eliminating hazardous materials in our hospitals.” Some market-based organizations already have significant energy conservation and environmental protection programs in place. At Catholic Health Initiatives’ recent Chief Executive Officers Meeting, Kevin Lofton, president and chief executive officer of Catholic Health Initiatives, presented awards to several hospitals for establishing mercury-free environments. Awards were presented to St. Clare Hospital, Lakewood, Wash.; St. Gabriel’s Hospital, Little Falls, Minn.; St. Joseph Medical Center, Tacoma, Wash.; and St. Joseph Medical Center, Towson, Md. “All of these hospitals received recognition from Hospitals for a Healthy Environment for going mercury free,” said Smith. “One of the goals of the Environment and Energy Task Force is to create tools that will help all Catholic Health Initiatives hospitals achieve that kind of success and meet the requirements for national recognition.” The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star program also provides recognition for hospitals that practice effective energy management. “The EPA Web site has some excellent materials showing how more efficient energy use can have a significant impact on the bottom line,” said Smith. “The data we have gathered so far from Catholic Health Initiatives hospitals show annual energy costs of nearly $42 million; we estimate that energy costs are approximately $50 to $60 million per year across the system. Reducing that total by 10 percent would amount to a significant reduction in cost.” The Environment and Energy Task Force and its subcommittees will meet regularly during the coming year to develop energy management and environmental stewardship programs. For more information, contact Dennis Smith at dennissmith@catholichealth.net. Environmental and Energy Management Goals Catholic Health Initiatives’ facility services team has drafted specific energy and environmental management goals: Energy Management
  • Reduce energy use, as measured in the Energy Star Portfolio Manager, by 10 percent during the next five years.
  • Help Catholic Health Initiatives hospitals earn the Energy Star label.
  • Participate in a system-wide goal of a 10 percent reduction in energy use.
Environmental Management
  • New and renovation design and construction will design toward the Silver LEED Building level, part of the
  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System from the U.S. Green Building Council.
  • Introduce a waste management plan, to include recycling and disposal of products/equipment.
  • Reduce or eliminate hazardous materials in Catholic Health Initiatives facilities.