April 2009

Task Force Focused on Green Projects and Savings

CHI’s Environment and Energy Task Force, which has a dual objective of enhancing environmental stewardship and reducing energy costs, is involved in “green” projects that are generating substantial results across the system.

For example, the 12-person task force selected Oakleaf, a Connecticut-based waste disposal and recycling company, to manage waste for CHI. Oakleaf has guaranteed a 12% reduction in waste disposal costs, or as much as $220,000 annually.

“Hospitals are the biggest generators of waste in any industrial sector,” said Dennis Smith, assistant director of facility management and chair of the Environment and Energy Task Force. “It’s 24/7 for hospitals – more than any other type of building. Because we are such big creators of waste and such big users of energy, we need to address these issues.”

As of February, CHI also saved $435,000 through a consolidated energy management contract with HealthTrust Purchasing Group (HPG). The contract was negotiated through CHI Facilities Management (part of Clinical Engineering/Supply Chain).

The Environment and Energy Task Force was formed five years ago to heighten awareness of environmental efforts and energy usage. The task force is working with Practice Greenhealth, an organization for health care institutions involved in sustainable, eco-friendly practices. Practice Greenhealth also works closely with individual CHI hospitals, providing guidance and tools to assist with comprehensive environmental assessments. A focus on energy is a key component of this initiative, which includes monthly webinars on a wide range of environmental topics.

This year, CHI facilities have been nominated for 13 Environmental Excellence Awards from Practice Greenhealth. St. Joseph Regional Health Network, Reading, PA, and Franciscan Health System, Tacoma, WA, are past Practice Greenhealth honorees. The awards will be announced next month at CleanMed 2009, an international conference in Chicago that CHI is co-sponsoring.

Smith said CHI’s 13 nominations for Practice Greenhealth awards reflect a newfound focus by many “environmental champions” at CHI facilities. “It indicates a ramping up of environmental efforts throughout CHI,” Smith said. “We are very excited about the prospects for recognition this year. We’re more engaged in environmental and energy efforts than ever before.”