UPMC Creates $5 Million Fund to Promote Environmentally Friendly Projects
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) today announced the creation of a $5 million “green action fund” to support new environmental initiatives across the health system.
The fund is the latest example of UPMC’s leadership in advancing environmentally sustainable practices, while supporting research and education focused on environmental links to disease. UPMC’s work has been recognized by the Heinz Endowments as a “new model” for the health care industry and one that goes beyond simply buying and building green.
“With this new green action fund, UPMC is signaling its deep commitment to a program of comprehensive environmental stewardship,” said William Smith, UPMC’s director of environmental health and safety. “We are encouraging all of our business units to pursue creative projects that protect the environment, reduce waste and energy consumption, and promote the health of our patients and employees.”
According to Smith, the new fund potentially will cover installation of energy-efficient heating, cooling and electrical equipment; replacement of plumbing valves and fixtures to reduce water consumption; removal of building materials that contain PVC (polyvinyl chloride); and replacement of various products and chemicals used daily in the hospitals to reduce sources of toxicity.
In making this commitment, UPMC joins other companies, nonprofit institutions and government agencies in support of The Rachel Carson Legacy Challenge: green steps to a sustainable future, part of a celebration marking the centennial of author and ecologist Rachel Carson’s birth in Springdale, Pa. The objective of the Challenge is to demonstrate how coordinated commitments to environmentally sustainable practices can make a difference in the health, quality of life and economic viability of communities. The initial pledges will be formally announced today at the Rachel Carson Legacy Celebration in the Senator John Heinz Regional History Center in Pittsburgh.
“We congratulate UPMC on its leadership in making a commitment to the Rachel Carson Legacy Challenge,” said Patricia M. DeMarco, Ph.D., executive director, Rachel Carson Homestead Association. “UPMC’s green action fund captures the essence of making a permanent, measurable change for environmental sustainability. A healthy environment is an essential part of a healthy community.”
Even before creation of this new fund, UPMC had supported such environmental efforts as the removal of virtually all mercury-containing items at UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside and Magee-Womens Hospital; the recycling of more than 1 million pounds of paper annually; and the building of one of the first environmentally sustainable pediatric hospitals. Hospitals for a Healthy Environment has recognized both Magee-Womens Hospital and the Hillman Cancer Center for their commitment to reducing the impact of their operations on the environment and the local community.
With a grant from the Heinz Endowments, UPMC recently created a new senior leadership position, director of environmental initiatives, to help develop and monitor industry-leading environmental policies across the organization. The Heinz Endowments have been supporting environmental efforts at various UPMC facilities for several years as part of a longer-term initiative to integrate health care and the environment.
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