Environmental Protection Agency Recognizes Catholic Health Among Nation's Leading Green Power Purchasers

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December 7, 2009

As a result of its recent agreement to purchase nearly 6 million Kwh of wind generated energy, Catholic Health has been named a member of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership. Catholic Health is the first area health provider to use wind generated energy and the first area health provider named to the partnership.

In October, Catholic Health signed a two year energy purchasing agreement with Constellation Energy. Part of the agreement includes a green power initiative, which will supply wind generated energy for 10% of the electricity at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, Kenmore Mercy Hospital, Sisters of Charity Hospital, Sisters of Charity Hospital, St. Joseph Campus, four Catholic Health nursing and adult homes and its Nazareth Campus. The facilities use more than 58 million kilowatts of electricity annually.

“We are proud to be recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” said Joseph D. McDonald, president and CEO of Catholic Health. “It’s also good to be in the company of other business across the country which share our concerns and commitment. Supporting clean sources of electricity is a sound business decision and reduces our carbon footprint. Large health systems use an enormous amount of resources, so we have a responsibility to do our part to help protect the environment,” McDonald said.

Green power is electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, biomass and low-impact hydro. These resources generate electricity with a net zero increase in carbon dioxide emissions, while offering a superior environmental profile compared to traditional power generation sources. Green power purchases also support the development of new renewable energy generation sources nationwide.

“EPA is pleased to welcome Catholic Health to the Green Power Partnership. We applaud their commitment to using green power to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Susan Wickwire, Chief of the Energy Supply and Industry Branch at US EPA.

According to the U.S. EPA, Catholic Health's green power purchase of nearly 6 million kWh is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of nearly 800 passenger vehicles per year, or is the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power nearly 600 average American homes annually.

McDonald sees green initiatives as a priority for Catholic Health. In 2008, he assembled a team of environmentally concerned associates to form a “Go Green Team” to begin addressing multiple issues, from the large consumption of energy to simple ways for everyone to reduce and properly dispose of waste. Catholic Health’s team has been exploring and implementing environmentally friendly solutions to energy consumption, building design, supply purchasing and waste management.

“At the staff level, our associates are very engaged in environmental issues,” McDonald continued. “From neighborhood cleanups, to recycling efforts, they’ve done a great job in supporting Green initiatives.” Earlier this year, Catholic Health sponsored two recycling events. In May, Catholic Health sponsored an electronic recycling program which gathered nearly nine tons of electronic waste for recycling and proper disposal. In September, Catholic Health’s Kenmore Mercy Hospital collected and disposed 600 lbs. of expired, unwanted or unused medication drugs during a pharmaceutical drop off day, also for proper disposal.