Earth-friendlier Health Care Decisions Help Make West Chester Environmentally Healthier Too
Released: September 17, 2013
West Chester, PA - Chester County Hospital has been a cornerstone of the West Chester community for more than 120 years, and it continues to be a leader in taking serious steps to reduce its carbon and environmental impact in the county seat, while expanding to meet the medical needs of the county's residents.
Penn Medicine Chester County Hospital will be recognized by West Chester Borough Leaders United for Emissions Reduction (BLUER), an ad hoc committee created by West Chester Borough Council, for its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lessen the environmental footprint of the facility and its staff and patients. At Borough Council's September 17 meeting, the hospital will be presented a BLUER Business Award, making it just the fourth Borough business to receive the award. (Previous BLUER Business Awards have been awarded to Roots Cafe, New Street Catering and The Hickman.)
"The BLUER Business Awards Program is intended to spur positive change by recognizing businesses that are taking genuine steps to reduce CO2 emissions," says David Mazzocco, BLUER Chairman. "Public recognition and education will help other business owners follow suit, and enable businesses to learn from one another."
The BLUER Business Award recognizes businesses in the Borough of West Chester and surrounding area that have taken the initiative to:
- Conserve energy through building improvements/design and/or policy changes;
- Convert to renewable, cleaner energy sources; and/or
- Reduce waste by reducing purchasing/packaging, reusing materials, and/or recycling aggressively.
Lou Guardiani, Vice President of Support Services, says, "The hospital's mission is to take care of its community members. We take care of their health, but we can't sacrifice the ground, water and air in the process. It's all about doing the right thing in the long run for the environment, which will ultimately support a healthy Borough in which to live and work."
Specifically, BLUER applauds the following initiatives at the Chester County Hospital:
- Hospital-wide energy conservation measures: T8 to T5 fluorescent bulbs, motion sensors in common areas and utility rooms, improved efficiency of motors by installing variable frequency drives, on-demand hot water for domestic and laundry uses.
- Tower Project: Vegetated green roof area to reduce water runoff, white roof area to reduce heat islands, project mostly built over existing paved surface, water-saving plumbing fixtures, high-efficiency HVAC - 20% more efficient than typical hospital systems. The hospital will achieve several LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) credits for the sustainability features for its Tower design, construction and operation.
- A hospital-wide project to switch to rechargeable batteries.
- 91% of the construction waste at the Tower Project was recycled (415.3 tons since January 2012)
- In a partnership with Stericycle, medical waste has been reduced and single-stream recycling for plastic, metal and paper has been put in place throughout the hospital. New programs include recycling waste oil, cell phones, printer cartridges, coffee grounds, cardboard; repurposing 5-gallon buckets for employee use; and composting food waste from the cafeteria.
- A new tree will be planted on the property for every one removed during Tower construction.
BLUER says that of particular note are the efforts of the hospital's Employee Wellness Committee, Green Committee, and Food and Nutrition Services Department to promote local growers by showcasing a semi-monthly farmers market on campus in the summer; engaging with Common Market a Philadelphia-based farm-focused food distributor to offer regionally-grown foods to cafeteria diners; and building several raised-bed gardens on campus this fall in coordination with the Chester County Food Bank.
Scott Greenley, Director of Food and Nutrition Services and chair of the Green Committee, says, "Chester County Hospital has a strong commitment to prevention and wellness for our neighbors and our own employees. By partnering with local growers to offer healthy food options and by doing our part to be earth-friendly by reducing, reusing and recycling, we are actively involved in creating a culture of healthy living."