August 4, 2010 – The Greening Greenfield Energy Committee is very pleased to announce that Baystate Franklin Medical Center has joined the Greenfield 10% Challenge. The 10% Challenge was launched in April 2009 by the Greening Greenfield Energy Committee to challenge 10% of the businesses and residents to reduce their energy use by 10% by the end of 2010.
“We are thrilled that Baystate Franklin Medical Center, one of the largest users of energy in town, has joined our 10% Challenge,” said Becca King of the Greening Greenfield Energy Committee. “When we met with them to discuss this opportunity, we were really impressed with their commitment to energy reduction at every level - from the facility manager’s attention to details to efforts of their Green Team!”
“This is a natural fit for us, as we have long been aware of the need to conserve energy and explore alternative energy resources,” said Chuck Gijanto, President of BFMC and the Baystate Health Northern Region. “Since our core mission depends on being open, functioning, and powered to deliver service every minute of every day,” he added, “the lights have been on at this hospital since 1895, and they need to remain so. Our challenge is to find increasingly efficient ways to power our systems so that we draw less off the grid and assure we remain ready to care for patients at all times.”
Examples of action Baystate Franklin Medical Center has taken over the past two decades include making the switch from electrical to natural gas appliances in its large commercial kitchen; upgrading its heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to make them more energy efficient and reliable; general lighting upgrades for greater efficiency; and beginning the changeover in the heating systems from oil to natural gas, which started with the 48 Sanderson Street building in 2008.
“Natural gas burns more cleanly and efficiently than oil, while costing less, too,” said Greg Oles, Manager of Engineering for BFMC. Oles has been at Baystate Franklin for more than 20 years, and in that time has overseen many of the energy-saving changes. “We have a hospital and medical campus here that includes several buildings, built and renovated at different times over the years as we’ve worked to replace old operating systems with new,” he said. “With each building project, we look for new ways to save on fuel, reduce pollution, and reduce our energy expenses.”
Baystate Franklin spends approximately $2 million on energy each year to keep the buildings heated and lit, and to keep medical technology functioning. Over the next two years, the hospital and medical campus will be changing over the rest of the oil burners to natural gas, which will save about $200,000 a year.
Greening Greenfield was also pleased to learn that Baystate Franklin, which is the largest employer in Greenfield, has undertaken several initiatives with employees, medical staff and volunteers to promote environmental awareness and encourage staff to take action on their own. The hospital’s Green Team, which is chaired by Tom Sandomierski, Manager of Environmental Services, includes employees from several different departments who work throughout the year to evaluate opportunities for innovative savings and recycling projects. For instance, the team worked with Food Services to reduce Styrofoam container and paper cup usage, and to increase recycling efforts; they also organize the hospital’s annual Earth Day celebrations. Another group of employees, responsible for reviewing materials use throughout the hospital, initiated the “free store” through which departments share their surplus office supplies and/or used furniture.
“Everything we can do to save energy, reduce our consumption and/or reuse materials is good for the environment, good for the community’s health, and good for our bottom line,” said Gijanto. “And the savings we realize go right back into patient care, which is good news for our patients and their families, as well.”
Over 700 households and 37 businesses have joined the Greenfield 10% Challenge to date. If you would like to join the Challenge and help the Greening Greenfield Energy Committee reach its goal of 800 households by the end of this year, go to Greening Greenfield’s web site at www.GreeningGreenfield.org and click on the 10% Challenge logo, or call Becca King at 773-7004. The 10% Challenge is part of the Greening Greenfield campaign, which aims to use “greening” as the inspirational and economic engine to build a sustainable Greenfield so that current and future generations can enjoy life in this beautiful abundant valley.