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Overlook Medical Center Wins National Award for Environmental Excellence

Overlook Medical Center was awarded the 2015 “Greenhealth Partner for Change” Award in addition to the “Making Medicine Mercury-Free” Award by Practice Greenhealth, the nation’s leading health care community that empowers its members to increase their efficiencies and environmental stewardship while improving patient safety and care through tools, best practices and knowledge.

The Awards are two of the organization’s Environmental Excellence Awards given each year to honor outstanding environmental achievements in the health care sector.

The “Greenhealth Partner for Change” Award recognizes health care facilities that continuously improve and expand upon their mercury elimination, waste reduction, recycling and source reduction programs. At a minimum, facilities must be recycling 15 percent of their total waste, have reduced regulated medical waste, are well along the way to mercury elimination, and have developed other successful pollution prevention programs in many different areas.

Initiatives that led to Overlook Medical Center’s achievements include: recycling 420 tons of waste per year; 25 percent reduction in meat purchasing and a significant increase in local fresh food purchasing; composting of food waste; installation of LED lighting and occupancy lighting in restrooms and storage rooms; and charging stations in hospital parking lots for electric and hybrid vehicles.

The installation of a tri-generation power plant has had a most significant impact on reducing the medical center’s carbon footprint.  The power plant produces 4 Megawatts of electricity on site by harnessing the waste heat produced by the generators and substitutes steam formerly created by boilers. The use of an absorption chiller creates chilled water for air conditioning and dehumidification; lower grade domestic hot water produced by the system is used by the hospital, as well. This tri-generation process reduces the cost of replaced energy by more than 60 percent, while also providing a redundant electrical generating capability which, in emergency situations, allows the hospital to operate independent of grid-supplied power.

“As winners of the Practice Greenhealth Partner for Change Award and the Making Medicine Mercury-Free Award, Overlook Medical Center is committed to improving the health of our patients, staff, and community as a whole,” said Alan Lieber, president, Overlook Medical Center. “We take pride in our sustainability efforts to lessen our impact on the environment and look forward to working with Practice Greenhealth to continue this work across the country.”

The “Practice Greenhealth Making Medicine Mercury-Free” Award recognizes facilities that have virtually eliminated mercury from their facilities and have demonstrated a commitment to continue to be mercury-free.  Award criteria include mercury-free management and purchasing policies, and staff education.

“Eliminating mercury in our daily work environment protects both our patients and staff,” said Mr. Lieber. “We look forward to building on this important work to integrate more sustainable practices into our day-to-day practices.”

The Practice Greenhealth Environmental Excellence Awards were presented May 14 in Portland, Oregon at the CleanMed Conference & Exhibition, the premier national environmental conference for leaders in health care sustainability.


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