Catholic Health is Running With The Wind

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October 12, 2009

Catholic Health has signed a two-year agreement with Constellation Energy, which is expected to save the health system more than $500,000 annually in electricity costs. 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 homes and adult homes and its Nazareth Campus.

The facilities use more than 58 million kilowatts of electricity annually. Catholic Health is believed to be the first area health provider to use wind generated energy.

Catholic Health President and CEO Joseph D. McDonald, sees green initiatives as a priority for the health system. 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 at Catholic Health facilities 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. Last month 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.

“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. “The contract was a great opportunity for us to make a positive impact by purchasing wind generated power, which will help lower our use of fossil fuel,” said McDonald. “Our system has made a commitment to find ways to reduce our carbon footprint. Using wind power to help run our facilities is step in the right direction.”

Mike Farrell, Senior Business Development Manager for Constellation NewEnergy, notes, “As an organization, we are pleased to support Catholic Health by securing clean, renewable energy sources that not only meets budgetary requirements but also Catholic Health’s corporate sustainability commitments.”