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EPA Certification Ranks Among Nation’s Best for Energy Efficiency in Hospitals

SEATTLE – (Sept. 20, 2012) — Five of Virginia Mason Medical Center’s patient care buildings in downtown Seattle have earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR certification, signifying the buildings perform in the top 25 percent of similar facilities nationwide for energy efficiency and meet strict energy efficiency performance levels set by the EPA.

The ENERGY STAR designation applies to the entire hospital complex, including the Buck Pavilion, the Central Pavilion and the new Jones Pavilion, as well as the Lindeman Pavilion and the Health Resources Building.

Only 125 health care systems in the nation have earned a place on the ENERGY STAR roster. Virginia Mason is the only health care provider in the Seattle area to earn ENERGY STAR certification, one of only three in Washington and the only health care provider in the state to have multiple buildings certified.

The push for energy efficiency is part of Virginia Mason’s award-winning EnviroMason environmental stewardship initiative, a comprehensive sustainability program that has pioneered eco-friendly business practices in health care. The ENERGY STAR certification is the culmination of an effort that began in 1999 to retrofit and upgrade buildings with new energy efficient technologies that help reduce energy use and promote a cleaner environment, such as automated building system controls, hot water flow restrictors, lighting retrofits and steam valve upgrades. Virginia Mason staff also contributed to the certification by using the tools of the Virginia Mason Production System (VMPS) to implement more energy efficient processes.

"This achievement exemplifies what our EnviroMason initiative is all about," said Sarah Patterson, executive vice president and chief operating officer. "We made a commitment when we launched EnviroMason several years ago that our vision to be the Quality Leader and transform health care extends to the environment. We want to be the best stewards of our resources and contribute to our community’s sustainability."
 
Buildings with the ENERGY STAR certification use an average of 35 percent less energy and release 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
 
EnviroMason’s other achievements include:

  • Saved 2 million gallons of water through plumbing upgrades at the downtown campus
  • Diverted nearly 700 tons of waste from landfills to recycling each year
  • Reduced electricity usage by 4.45 million kilowatts through facility improvements and conservation efforts
  • Recycled 5 tons of operating room waste
  • Diverted 144 tons of food waste from sewer systems through composting
  • Increased the volume of paper that is recycled by 300 percent
  • Installed three electric vehicle charging stations
  • Promoted the reduction of single occupant vehicle commuting by supporting public transportation use by employees, bicycle commuting, and co-sponsoring shared public transportation routes
  • Earned the Washington State Recycling Association 2011 "Institutional Recycler of the Year" for EnviroMason.
  • Earned the Washington State Recycling Association 2011 "Event Recycler of the Year" for successfully recycling 98 percent of all waste generated at the Boeing Classic golf tournament

About Virginia Mason Medical Center
Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. Virginia Mason employs more than 5,300 people and includes a 336-bed acute-care hospital, a primary and specialty care group practice of nearly 460 physicians, locations throughout the Puget Sound area and Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the U.S. designed and built specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS. Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason is internationally recognized for its breakthrough autoimmune disease research. Virginia Mason was the first health system to apply lean manufacturing principles to health care delivery to eliminate waste and improve quality and patient safety.
 
Awards and distinctions include Top Hospital of the Decade by The Leapfrog Group, 2012 Top Hospital (for the sixth consecutive year) and grade "A" patient safety rating by The Leapfrog Group, 2012 Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence and Patient Safety Excellence Award from HealthGrades®, and 2012 America’s 100 Best Specialty Excellence Award for Overall Cardiac and Gastrointestinal Care from HealthGrades.  
 
To learn more about Virginia Mason Medical Center, please visit Facebook.com/VMcares or follow @VirginiaMason on Twitter.
 
To learn more about how Virginia Mason is transforming health care and to join the conversation, visit our blog at virginiamasonblog.org.
 
For media inquiries, contact: 
 
Virginia Mason Media Relations
(206) 341-1509

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