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Atlantic General Hospital Receives Trailblazer Award from EPA

Hospital one of six in state recognized for leadership in enhancing sustainability and reducing impact in the environment.

Atlantic General Hospital recently announced that it has received the Environmental Protection Agency’s prestigious Trailblazer Award. Atlantic General, along with five other Maryland hospitals, was recognized during a regional conference, titled “Environmental Excellence in Health Care: Greening Maryland Hospitals,” held at the University of Maryland School of Nursing in early November.

The Trailblazer Award is bestowed upon model hospitals in Maryland that have made advanced efforts to reduce their carbon footprint and support sustainable practices, lessening their impact on the environment through a variety of measures.

Atlantic General Hospital received the award for implementing performance contracting resulting in energy and water conservation. In February 2008, Atlantic General signed a 10-year energy efficiency contract with Johnson Controls. The 15-part project that included upgrading to high efficiency lighting fixtures, increasing insulation, installing passive occupancy sensors, and using low flow water fixtures among other retrofits and upgrades, was completed in May 2008.

While the hospital will realize gradual financial savings to recuperate the contractual costs with Johnson Controls over a 10-year period, the positive effects on the environment are immediate and cumulative.

"It is our responsibility to our community to meet our mission for health care service delivery, and to be a responsible corporate citizen," states Michael Franklin, president and CEO of Atlantic General. "We live in a very environmentally conscious region, and it is important for us to contribute to a sustained healthy environment."

Over the next 10 years, the improvements that Atlantic General Hospital has made to reduce energy consumption are guaranteed to reduce CO2 emissions caused by electricity generation and the burning of fossil fuels by more than 4790 tons.

This reduction in released CO2, the primary greenhouse gas culprit in global warming, translates to over 14,000 trees planted; it would take this number of trees to absorb the over 10,500,000 saved pounds of CO2. The CO2 savings is also the equivalent of removing the emissions of over 1,000 cars. Over the life of the contract, the conserved electricity, in particular, would supply enough power to 935 houses for one year. And, the upgrades to the bathroom and sink fixtures throughout the facility will save 860,000 gallons of water each year, meaning that over the 10-year haul, 8.6 million gallons of water saved or the equivalent of almost 500 in ground swimming pools.

In a press release issued by the EPA, Virginia Thompson, sustainable healthcare sector manager for the mid-Atlantic region, said, “These hospitals are successfully demonstrating leadership and innovation in reducing their environmental footprint. They have undertaken a challenging task and have produced measurable results in many cases, demonstrating what can be accomplished when hospitals take advantage both of senior executive support and grounds-up initiative from across the hospitals’ many departments.”