Greening the OR Video Contest

If you are a sponsor or endorsing hospital of Practice Greenhealth’s Greening the OR Initiative, we would like to invite you to plan and produce your own Greening the OR video.

If you are not a sponsor or endorsing hospital, join this very important work. To endorse the initiative, simply fill out the Commitment Form— identify the pieces of the initiative your organization is interested in participating in and then get to work! To become a sponsor, Contact Bob Jarboe.

The Greening the OR Video Contest is your opportunity to show your creativity and talent, while illustrating how to reduce costs and also reduce waste, energy use, and worker and patient exposure to hazardous chemicals.

You have a great story to tell. Create a video that best captures success in any area of Greening the OR

  • Highlight Practice Greenhealth and the Greening the OR program
  • Promote sustainability in health care and hospital facilities
  • Entertain and interest viewers – your industry peers and customers

Have fun, make it interesting, but really showcase the benefits of a green OR. Post your video on YouTube and email the link to by April 6, 2012. The video will be judged on content, popularity, creativity, and viewer comments.

Practice Greenhealth will show the winning video at the CleanMed 2012 conference and exposition in Denver, Colorado, and the winner will receive the opportunity to download all of the recorded sessions at CleanMed 2012 — FREE!

The deadline is Friday, April 6. Visit the Greening the OR web site to inspire ideas.

Why Universities Are Building Superefficient Power Plants

Read the full story at GOOD.

James Merrihue takes me through a pair of gray double doors from the sleek halls of New York University’s Stern School of Business, and immediately it’s warmer. Most students probably walk by these doors every day without considering what’s behind them. But when I follow Merrihue through a series of doors and hallways and down a flight of stairs, we reach a cavernous, steaming hot room, the length of a city block, where a system of turbines, generators, heat exchangers, and chillers provides electricity, heat, and hot and cold water for dozens of campus buildings.

This system lives just below ground, a block off Washington Square Park, underneath a pleasant walkway spotted with local grasses and benches. If you sit and listen quietly, you can hear the noise of the turbines spinning at 13,000 revolutions per minute below. Once, the university created energy in this spot by burning oil. In that plant, you could smell the diesel exhaust fumes, Merrihue, the plant manager, tells me. But this new plant, which opened in 2011, starts by burning natural gas, which produces less air pollution and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. After that fuel produces electricity, the plant takes the leftover energy and uses it over and over again. “That’s what gets us the efficiency”—almost 90 percent, says Merrihue. The hot exhaust from two gas-fired turbines fuels a steam turbine, which produces additional electricity. The leftover steam travels to a hot water heat exchanger and then to a chiller, where the last bit of energy is used to cool a 2400-gallon tank of water down to 45 degrees.

Power plants like this one, which eke every drop of work they can out of their fuel, are called cogeneration or combined heat-and-power plants. The technology isn’t new: Thomas Edison first used it commercially in 1882, at the Pearl Station, where heat from electricity generation went to warm nearby buildings. But it has been underused. In 2008, the Department of Energy called cogeneration “one of the most promising options in the US energy efficiency portfolio” and estimated [PDF] that if these plants accounted for 20 percent of the country’s electricity capacity, they would keep as much carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere as taking 154 million cars off the road would.

Webinar: Tools to Measure Sustainability: Life Cycle Assessment

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST
Register at

Presenters: Dr. Anahita Williamson, Director, New York State Pollution Prevention Institute & Kate Winnebeck, Senior Environment, Health & Safety Specialist, New York State Pollution Prevention Institute

Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool used to quantify the environmental impacts of a product throughout the entire life cycle, from material extraction, manufacturing, transportation, and end of life. The inputs and outputs of the product life cycle are quantified and then translated to environmental impact. Results are commonly used to compare the environmental footprint of multiple products which perform the same function.

LCA results are useful for communicating the environmental impact of a product both internally and externally. Internally, LCA results allow those operations or materials which contribute significant environmental impact to be identified, allowing target future improvements to be targeted. Externally, LCA results can be used to validate marketing claims or compare the environmental impact of products by multiple manufacturers.  This webinar will focus on the LCA process and how LCA results can be used to drive sustainability. Case study examples will also be presented.

Environmental Performance of Algal Biofuel Technology Options

Venkatesh Vasudevan, Russell W. Stratton, Matthew N. Pearlson, Gilbert R. Jersey, Abraham G. Beyene, Joseph C. Weissman, Michele Rubino, and James I. Hileman. (2012). “Environmental Performance of Algal Biofuel Technology Options.” Environmental Science and Technology, 46 (4), 2451–2459.DOI: 10.1021/es2026399.

Abstract: Considerable research and development is underway to produce fuels from microalgae, one of several options being explored for increasing transportation fuel supplies and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). This work models life-cycle GHG and on-site freshwater consumption for algal biofuels over a wide technology space, spanning both near- and long-term options. The environmental performance of algal biofuel production can vary considerably and is influenced by engineering, biological, siting, and land-use considerations. We have examined these considerations for open pond systems, to identify variables that have a strong influence on GHG and freshwater consumption. We conclude that algal biofuels can yield GHG reductions relative to fossil and other biobased fuels with the use of appropriate technology options. Further, freshwater consumption for algal biofuels produced using saline pond systems can be comparable to that of petroleum-derived fuels.

Energy Star Leaders Achieve President Obama’s Energy Efficiency Goal for Buildings

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that nearly half of the organizations recognized as Energy Star Leaders have improved the energy efficiency of their building portfolios by 20 percent or more. Last year, President Obama announced a nationwide call to action to improve the energy performance in buildings across the nation by 20 percent by 2020. EPA’s Energy Star program has helped these 90 leading organizations achieve the President’s goal by providing them with a proven energy management strategy, which includes a focus on ongoing performance measurement and whole-building improvement. Energy Star Leaders have cumulatively saved more than $150 million on utility bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to the electricity use of nearly 95,000 homes.

“Making our buildings more energy efficient is one of the most effective ways for American businesses, government and other organizations to save money and reduce the pollution going into the air we breathe,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “With help from EPA’s Energy Star program, these leaders are benefitting their bottom lines while protecting our health and the environment.”

Energy Star Leaders must meet one of two energy efficiency improvement milestones. The first milestone requires a 10 percent improvement in energy performance across their entire building portfolio, and subsequent recognition is given for each 10 percent improvement thereafter. The second milestone, known as “top performer,” requires the buildings in an organization’s portfolio, to perform on average in the top 25 percent of similar buildings nationwide. To be eligible for Energy Star Leaders recognition, organizations are required to track and submit energy performance data for all buildings and fuel sources through EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager tool.

In the past year, EPA also recognized Decatur County Community Schools in Indiana as the first Energy Star Leader to improve energy efficiency across their building portfolio by 60 percent. The complete list of Energy Star Leaders has grown to more than 200 organizations, including school districts, national retailers, commercial real estate companies, healthcare systems, supermarket operators and hotel managers that have achieved energy efficiency improvements across more than 11,400 buildings covering nearly 730 million square feet in the United States.

With help from EPA’s Energy Star program, thousands of businesses and organizations are improving the energy efficiency of the places where we work, play and learn and are saving billions of dollars while preventing millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere each year.

GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool

Online tool developed by the GSA. Features:

  • Explore this easy-to-navigate tool to identify and prioritize cost-effective green building strategies you can implement to incorporate sustainable concepts into any remodel or small project.
  • Learn how to select sustainable materials, incorporate daylighting strategies, educate your occupants, save on water, conserve energy and reference relevant regulations.
  • Compare materials and systems, access design guidance, ask questions and even share your knowledge to help others “green” their projects as well.

Introducing SF Mobile

Sustainable Facilities Mobile (SF Mobile) brings valuable sustainable building and workplace design guidance from into your hands wherever you go.

Just search “Sustainable Facilities” on the Appstore of your smartphone device*