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Protecting the Environment is the Mission of South Nassau’s “Green Team”
Mindful that a healthy environment is vital to its mission of promoting the health and wellness of the residents it serves, South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside recently launched its “Project Green” initiative, which calls on the Hospital’s staff of 2,600 employees and 875 doctors to promote environmental awareness and implement actions that will protect the environment and improve our quality of life, whether at work or at home.
“Preserving the world’s natural resources is the responsibility of every individual,” said South Nassau’s Executive Chef Stephen A. Bello, CEC, CCA, AAC, founder of the Hospital’s “Green Team,” which is responsible for planning, implementing, and sustaining the project. “There has never been a more appropriate time to be environmentally conscious and set a positive example for our families, friends, and the communities that we serve and live in.”
South Nassau is in the vanguard of hospitals’ energy conservation and “green” initiatives. In 2006, the Hospital was awarded $1.5 million in federal “green funds” for the energy efficient and environmental protection measures employed in the construction of its North Addition. Energy efficient components of the North Addition include volume and flow air systems and water cooling towers and hot water pumps that operate on variable speed technology as well as high efficiency lighting fixtures and ballasts. The lighting system also features a day-lighting provision that allows for reduction in lighting system operation and intensity.
The North Addition includes a multitude of controls to allow the facility to achieve the highest level of environmental quality, including chemical and pollution source-exhaust systems in all soiled utility rooms; thermal and ventilation systems with individual control for nearly all patient care or office spaces; sound muffling materials and insulation to limit noise; and significant computer-designed landscaping around the exterior of the facility.
“We know that a clean, energy efficient environment is vital to the health and wellness of our patients, our staff, and the communities we serve,” said Joseph A. Quagliata, President and CEO. “Our Green Team and numerous other green measures allow us to promote clean air and clean water, conserve energy, and control light and sound pollution.”
The hospital’s Green Team was officially established on May 29, 2008, when its members held an official meeting to plan and implement the first phase of its Project Green initiative. The team is focused on educating South Nassau on opportunities to build momentum and sustain initiative; solutions to issues created by market forces and societal expectations; and seeking new and creative solutions to social and environmental challenges that deliver long term environmental value to the communities served by the hospital.
Since then, the Hospital has expanded its focus on what it calls “Green Procedures and Protocol.” The Environmental Services Department implemented a Regulated Medical Waste reduction program that not only reduces regulated waste disposal but also has a cost saving impact. They are using environmentally safe products, removed all mercury medical devises, use eco-friendly cleaning machines, started a paper shredding process to minimize bulk waste removal, and recycle cardboard at no cost; Materials Management has simplified printer cartridge recycling process so that a greater quantity can be sent back to the vendor for recycling; and the Engineering Department is recycling all batteries and fluorescent bulbs. The Food and Nutrition Department has reorganized its schedule of deliveries with its vendors to help them reduce fuel waste and consumption and carbon emissions; is recycling its kitchen grease; has partnered with Green Mountain Coffee, which is committed to the fair trade movement; and is pouring cold and hot beverages in recyclable cups.
In the hospital’s administrative offices, employees, led by Mr. Quagliata, are more frugal with their use of lighting and electricity; use wastepaper for photocopying; photocopy on both sides of paper; carpool to meetings and work, when possible; and power down offices completely at the end of the day.
“Great things are happening here at South Nassau,” said Michael Rodriguez, FABC, Administrative Director of Building Services. “We started our movement to the Green initiative several years ago, not because it needed to be done we started because it was the right thing to do.” “When the Green Project is in full force in all that we do here and in our homes, the energy, water, and materials that we conserve will contribute to the health and vitality of our environment and save thousands of dollars for our hospital and our families.”