Rooting for Energy Efficiency, Green Hospitals, Food and Facilities

Rooting for Energy Efficiency, Green Hospitals, Food and Facilities

I always root for my home team (the exception is my lifelong devotion to Chicago sports) when it comes to wherever I am living being “the best,” so as a New Yorker, I was disappointed in this year’s American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy’s (ACEEE) state energy efficiency rankings.

California (my home for about 15 years) was No. 1 in ACEEE’s report card, principally due to their interlocking set of regulations and market incentive programs, followed closely by Massachusetts and Oregon, which are doing much of the same. New York, my current home and the “team” I’m rooting for, ranks only fourth in ACEEE’s pantheon, mostly due to the relative lack of coordination of its regulatory and incentive schemes.

Some salve for my wounded competitive soul came with New York’s continued reign as the lowest energy-using state per capita --10 percent below California’s, which ranked fifth according to the Energy Information Administration. A top 10 per capita energy surprise is Florida, which is No. 9 in the per capita rankings, but only 30th in ACEEE’s energy efficiency policy rankings.

Green healthcare is in the news: The Greening the OR Initiative developed by Practice Greenhealth now has more than 55 participating hospitals across the country. The participating hospitals are working to find ways to reduce waste from ORs which can account for up to 30 percent of a hospital’s waste stream; the cost of all of the disposable equipment can actually exceed surgeon’s salaries by nearly 60 percent.

Dr. Preston Maring of Kaiser Permanente begins to address the third leg of the sustainability tripod -- human or personal sustainability -- by exploring the link between good food, health and well-being. Dr. Maring relates how this leading healthcare provider is encouraging healthy choices by promoting farmers markets at 35 of their campuses across the country.  At the Going Green event (pdf) at New York Presbyterian Hospital last week, I learned from Glenn Grube, NYP’s director of strategic engineering, that the hospital established a farmers market at their Harlem Campus, not only bringing affordable farm-fresh produce to their staff, but also to the low-income neighborhood where the campus is located.

Also in New York, Annual Fall Green Schools Summit’s theme is “Food for Thought: Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, Healthy Planet.“ The event takes place November 15th at the Nightingale-Bamford School, which is co-hosting the event with the Green Schools Alliance.

The folks at Sun Light & Power must be eating extra helpings of veggies, which is fueling the intelligence behind the country’s largest smart solar array (540 KW) being installed at the Clif Bar facility in Emeryville, California. Smart solar arrays powered by an advanced control and monitoring system produce 6 to 8 percent more power than a conventional array. SLP also helped the California city of Richmond take its Plunge (the name of the municipal natatorium) into the 21st century with a solar-heated non-chlorinated saline swimming pool -- quite possibly one of the healthier, greener pools in the country.

Rounding out the past week’s offerings are two green building law-related pieces this week by Chris Cheatham and Shari Shapiro, and the folks at GreenOrder bring us the second of three articles on the power politics surrounding PACE funding for energy efficient buildings and the implications for this program and similar ones going forward.

This week’s Look-Grandpa-I-picked-up-the-$20-bill-you said-was-fake-but-it's-real! award goes to KKR for its Green Portfolio Program. Now comprising about a third of KKR companies, Green Portfolio Program firms have saved more than $160 million in operating costs, eliminated 345,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions and the use of 8,500 tons of paper and avoided generating an additional 1.2 million tons of waste.

Rob Watson is the executive editor of GreenerBuildings.com. You can reach him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @Kilrwat.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user Ali Brohi.