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North Shore-LIJ, EPA Sign Pact on Green Initiatives

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, April 23, 2010

North Shore-LIJ (NY) Health System and the Environmental Protection Agency used Thursday's Earth Day celebrations to sign a five-year agreement on wide-ranging environmental stewardship programs.

The memorandum of understanding, signed by EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck and North Shore-LIJ President/CEO Michael Dowling, places the health system's hospitals in Queens, Long Island, and Staten Island into programs for energy and water conservation, solid waste recycling, environmentally sensitive landscaping, combined heat and power plants, sustainable building and construction projects, and green cleaning.

"With a workforce of more than 38,000, the North Shore-LIJ Health System is the largest employer on Long Island and the ninth largest in New York City. We play a leading role not only by providing top-notch healthcare but promoting sustainable business practices to improve public health and minimize our impact on the environment," Dowling said in a prepared release.

"Our collective actions make a tangible difference in terms of reducing greenhouse emissions, conserving energy, wisely using natural resources, and at the same time, benefit from significant cost savings."

Maurice E. LaBonne, North Shore-LIJ's senior vice president of facilities services, said there is an incentive to be energy efficient and cost effective because hospitals operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and continually use power to heat and cool facilities year round.

"Hospitals are well suited to sustainable design and construction because patients often have compromised immune systems; sustainable healing environments contribute to better patient outcomes," LaBonne said.

The agreement calls on North Shore-LIJ to:

  • Reduce energy consumption by at least 10%.
  • Implement a recycling program that includes paper, plastic, aluminum and cardboard and explore other opportunities for waste reduction and recycling.
  • Re-use landscaping materials wherever possible and re-use industrial materials for construction projects.
  • Increase the use of coal combustion waste products in construction activities. For example, in the Katz Women's Hospital construction project at North Shore University Hospital, cement will consist of 40% fly ash.
  • Recognize that the use of combined heat and power reduces environmental impacts while meeting the demand for energy. At LIJ Medical Center, a combined heat and power plant supplies electrical energy to the campus boiler/chiller operations and supplementary heat for steam and hot water requirements. The health system will try to enhance this plant and explore the application of this technology to other hospitals.
  • Continue to certify construction projects that are registered with the US Green Building Council. North Shore-LIJ also plans to certify major construction projects under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system.

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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