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St. Cloud VA Wins Environmental Award

St. Cloud VA Wins Environmental Award Click to Enlarge Photo: Jake Judd (KNSI)

May 19, 2017 at 6:01 am

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KNSI) - The St. Cloud VA Health Care System is honored with one of the Top 25 Environmental Excellence Awards.

Read about the honor below.

In recognition for groundbreaking achievement and innovation in health care sustainability, the St. Cloud VA Health Care System recently received the Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award from Practice Greenhealth, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to environmental sustainability in health care. The award is one of the Environmental Excellence Awards given each year to honor environmental achievements in the health care sector.

This is the second straight year that the St. Cloud VA has earned the Top 25 distinction.

The 25 hospitals presented with Practice Greenhealth's highest honors exemplify environmental excellence and are setting the highest standards for environmental practices in health care. Award winners are leading the industry with innovation in sustainability-and have the data and documentation to prove their success. Each year, the competition for these top spots increases as hospitals across the country continue to innovate.

“The St. Cloud VA prioritizes sustainability in our day-to-day operations and our planning for the future,” said Mary Wenck, Green Environmental Management Program Manager. “This honor is truly a testament to our amazing dedicated staff and their commitment to being good stewards of our financial and environmental resources for the benefit of our Veterans, visitors and the community”.

Examples of the many activities the St. Cloud VA undertook in 2016 include:

· Energy and water saving projects that saved $54,506 in energy costs and earned the VA $67,782 in energy supplier rebates.

· A Laundry system upgrade project that has reduced water use by 12,750 gallons per month.

· A paper conservation initiative reduced paper purchases by 8.5% and paper purchase costs by 8.3%.

“All of our sustainability projects lead to operational costs savings and makes those dollars available for Veteran care,” said Wenck.

Award winners are chosen among hospital applicants that have the highest scores on the Greenhealth Partner for Change application. Each year, the competitions for these top spots increases, as a growing number of facilities are implementing creative, sustainable and implementable practices.


St. Cloud VA Earns Numerous Circle of Excellence Awards

The St. Cloud VA also was recognized in six out of 10 categories with Circle of Excellence Awards, which celebrate sustainability programs that excel in a given category (in contrast to awards given for overall achievement).

These awards highlight hospitals that are pushing the envelope and driving innovation in sustainability performance in each sustainability category. There can be up to 10 designees selected for each Circle of Excellence category.

The St. Cloud VA received Circle of Excellence honors in the following categories:

· Leadership: This category honors hospitals demonstrating excellence in supporting a long-term commitment to healthier environments through committee structure, reporting, data tracking, communication and education.

· Greening the OR: This category honors hospitals for leadership in implementation and innovation in the surgical department. Winners have demonstrated innovative approaches to waste minimization, clinical plastic recycling, reformulation of operating room kits, single-use device reprocessing, use of reusable sterilization cases, and a range of other programs and associated metrics

· Energy: This category celebrates hospitals that are leading the sector in energy efficiency and strategic energy use planning. Leaders generally have energy managers and written programs to reduce energy use over time. They are tracking energy use intensity and ENERGY STAR performance metrics and sharing details on comprehensive project implementation and staff engagement strategies.

· Water: This category recognizes hospitals for exemplary programs in water conservation and efficiency. These early adopters boast fewer gallons of water consumption per square foot, tracking of implemented conservation projects, written plans to reduce water consumption over time and have water-tracking mechanisms in place.

· Climate: This category highlights visionary hospitals taking the lead on tracking and measuring carbon emissions and developing overall climate programs. Winning hospitals demonstrate an understanding of the health impacts of climate change and are acting to mitigate those impacts and educate their staff and communities on playing a supporting role.

· Green Building: This category is presented to hospitals that have demonstrated LEED and other green building achievements over the past five years. These hospitals emphasize policies that show a commitment to or even requirement of LEED-level construction standards for all major new builds or renovations. Their achievements include energy and water efficiency, safer materials, regional sourcing, integration of nature and other mechanisms to create high-performance healing environments.

St. Cloud Also Recognized for Eliminating Mercury from Facility

The St. Cloud VA was also recognized for its successful efforts to eliminate mercury. This recognition is given to health care facilities that have virtually eliminated mercury and have policies in place to prevent it from re-entering the facility. Award criteria include strong mercury-free purchasing policies and management practices, staff education, and a commitment to continuing to be mercury-free. Mercury is one of the most hazardous chemicals, associated with many health risks.

“Eliminating mercury from the products we use protects both our patients and staff,” said Wenck. “We are proud of our successes in eliminating mercury and are committed to doing even more to reduce exposure to this harmful chemical.”

About Practice Greenhealth
Practice Greenhealth is the nation’s leading health care membership community whose mission is to transform health care worldwide so that it reduces its environmental footprint, becomes a community anchor for sustainability and is a leader in the global movement for environmental health and justice.

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