Mount Sinai Changing the Colour of Care


Mount Sinai Hospital firmly put its stamp on environmental leadership in the health sector when it was recognized for the success of four ambitious initiatives at the fall 2010, 10th Green Health Care Awards. Sponsored by the Ontario Hospital Association and the Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care, the awards recognize excellence in reducing health care’s environmental impact.
Recipient of the Energy Efficiency Award, Mount Sinai Hospital has shown tremendous progress in a short time, focusing its efforts on energy conservation through the following projects:
Electricity Conservation
Mount Sinai pledged to maintain or decrease its level of consumption — despite an extensive and on-going expansion, which will add six floors to the Hospital. The Hospital used 2009’s average daily electricity consumption of 74 453 kWh as a baseline. Far from empty promises, the senior management team also extended their commitment to this goal by tying failure or success in meeting that target to their personal compensation metrics.
LEED-Certified Expansion
Renew Sinai, the Hospital’s capital expansion and redevelopment project, is built to LEED Silver standards. LEED— Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System—is a nationally recognized benchmark for design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. Mount Sinai has incorporated features such as automatic lighting, high efficiency windows and a solar shading eyebrow into the plan in order to attain its silver standard for energy efficiency.
Deep Lake Water Cooling Project
In a joint venture with Enwave Energy, Mount Sinai is participating in downtown Toronto’s green cooling project – the first acute health-care facility to do so. The Hospital uses the ice-cold water of Lake Ontario as a renewable source to cool its main building. In doing so, it has cut its demand level by 2,000 kW and lead to engagement in the city’s Better Building Partnership program.
By using this innovative system, Mount Sinai also significantly reduces the burden it places on Toronto’s electricity infrastructure, freeing more than 61 megawatts — enough to supply energy to 6, 800 homes annually. In addition, this measure prevents the release of 79,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually, similar to taking 15, 800 cars off the road
Toronto Central LHIN Energy Management Project
With a grant from the Ontario Power Association and in partnership with members of Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network (TC LHIN), Mount Sinai has emerged as the lead hospital in energy management by stepping up to the plate to house and support the project’s Energy Coach and Energy Coordinator. The Hospital has piloted new programs, including development of a standardized measurement and reporting system of consumption patterns. The Hospital has also implemented a new strategy to not only build awareness, but also encourage behavioural change.
According to Energy Coordinator Diane Walmsley, the successes at Mount Sinai so far can largely be attributed to the demonstrated leadership of senior management. “Mount Sinai is the only health-care facility I know of that extends its corporate commitment to the environment by making it an annual key performance indicator. Health facilities’ internal report cards usually focus on clinical goals, such as wait times. That the Hospital has also made energy conservation a priority is truly impressive.”
With initiatives like The Green Pledge — an online energy conservation toolkit— and the expanded role of departmental leads, the Sinai Green team is enjoying even greater staff engagement. The team will count on this commitment as they move into the next stage of their three-pronged Environmental Action Plan, focusing on waste. Walmsley expects the campaign against waste to be the largest and most time-consuming phase. “There’s lots of room for improvement, so it’s easy to become overwhelmed. And that makes it especially important to focus our goals,” said Walmsley.
As the physicians and staff of Mount Sinai Hospital set their sights on their next objectives, with a new full-time on-site Energy Coordinator to lead the charge, they’re looking forward to continuing the spirit of collaboration that exists in the health community. Together with Sunnybrook Hospital, St. Michael’s Hospital, the University Health Network, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, St. Joseph’s Hospital and The Hospital for Sick Kids, Mount Sinai Hospital is part of the green collective that comes together to share innovative ideas and best practices. “There may be competition between hospitals in many areas, but when it comes to sustainability, there is a determined eagerness to work together to solve the problem,” said Walmsley, who will be hosting the next meeting in February.