Stony Brook University Hospital has greatly reduced its carbon footprint and by doing so has saved an estimated $169,628 in operating expenses, according to a semi-annual report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The report, an Environmental Assessment, stems from a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between SBUH and the EPA in 2009 when the hospital pledged to be an environmental steward and advance its hospital-wide green initiatives.
The partnership and MOU between the EPA and SBUH began on August 26, 2009, and has since resulted in a reduction of energy, water usage, and solid waste across hospital operations. During 2010 and 2011, the hospital provided three updates to the EPA documenting its green initiatives. The EPA analyzed the submitted information and generated an environmental footprint for the organization, which is outlined in the EPA report.
“Due to the progressive green efforts of the organization, the hospital has managed to reduce its carbon footprint by 5,763 MTCO2e (Metric Ton Carbon Dioxide Equivalent) and saved an estimated $169,628 in operating expenses,” summarizes the EPA report. This reduction is equivalent to 646,076 gallons of gasoline, or 13,402 barrels of oil. Thus far, the hospital has increased its carbon footprint reduction by 88 percent.
“Our green initiatives implemented through the leadership of Stony Brook University Hospital’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety, in conjunction with the EPA, not only help improve our local environment but are a substantial savings for the hospital,” says Hospital CEO Steven L. Strongwater.
SBUH is pursuing various energy-savings activities. In 2010, the hospital joined the EPA’s Energy Star program and entered energy and water usage into the Energy Star Portfolio Manager. Other actions being undertaken to reduce the hospital’s environmental impact include water conservation, industrial materials reuse, and green landscaping. Specific energy-saving activities implemented within work processes include construction debris recycling, recycling of electronics, toner cartridge recycling, battery recycling, installing virtual servers, installing LED lights in elevators, and replacing a cooling tower.
In recent years, SBUH has saved additional operating expenses of approximately $700,000 per year with its recycling/reuse/waste avoidance programs. The greatest return has come from the medical equipment reprocessing, or re-manufacturing, program spearheaded by Materials Management. In 2010, SBUH received the SterilMed Reprocessing Award for its outstanding efforts.
SBUH has received several other awards for its “green efforts.” These include: H2E Making Medicine Mercury Free, the EPA Environmental Quality Award, and the “Practice Greenhealth” Partner for Change Awards.
The 2009 signing of a comprehensive green MOU between SBUH and the EPA was a first for any hospital in the United States. The MOU document is a five-year agreement that defines ongoing ways in which SBUH and the EPA work together to mutually advance their collective goals in reducing the hospital’s environmental footprint. The agreement also affirms SBUH’s commitment to its Environmental Policy Statement that declares protection of the health and well being of the SBUH community through continual improvement in the reduction, re-use, and recycle programs, with sustainability being the chief goal.