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SUNY Downstate Medical Center Green Initiative

How to Recycle at SUNY

For Hospitals and Organizations
The Path to Going Green: Five Simple Steps

1. Perform an energy audit

  • According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the first thing that hospitals must do is to compare themselves to their peers.
  • The EPA has a tool that helps facilities benchmark their current energy performance on a scale of 1 to 100; the top Energy Star rating is reserved for hospitals scoring over 75, while those below 50 have significant room for improvement
  • New York-Presbyterian Hospital has garnered awards from the EPA's Energy Star program four years in a row. The hospital reaps nearly $2 million in annual savings through sound energy practices.


2. Find low-effort, high-impact areas

  • LEED Gold certification might seem light-years away for many institutions, but some simple initial steps can reap large gains and help build momentum.
  • EPA's Energy Star program
  • Recycling efforts
  • Elimination of Mercury

3. Go back to your mission

  • Hospitals can more easily and effectively motivate employees by reemphasizing core values of community health and stewardship. The health care facilities that have really begun to take this topic seriously see it as directly connected to their mission. They're saying, environmental stewardship is very integrated and fundamental to what we do, so we need to make sure that it's always part of our process of health care delivery

4. Identify and leverage your environmental mavens

  • When you begin preaching the message of environmental responsibility, in all likelihood you'll be preaching to the choir.

5. Communicate the message as often as possible from top leadership

  • Any culture change requires lots of reinforcement-more so when it's a drastic change, such as the shift from wasteful practices to green one.
  • You have to repeat the message at new employee orientation
  • You have to talk about it at departmental meetings, employees have to hear that message from senior staff on a consistent basis
  • Organizations where the leaders consistently repeat that message have more success that those that don't have the support at the senior level
  • Crucial senior-level commitment may be the lowest-cost, highest-impact opportunity of all.