Sinai Health System took a pledge to help protect the environmental health of the community. Our team, which is part of SodexoMAGIC, a joint venture of Magic Johnson Enterprises and Sodexo, Inc. that provides engineering, food, and environmental services to Mount Sinai Hospital and Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital—a 533-licensed-bed facility that is a member of Sinai Health System—looked at what we could do.
Sodexo has a program called SMART, which stands for Sustainability Management Reporting Tool. We complete a facility assessment that looks at the client’s footprint, water usage, sustainable food environment, and waste. This tool provides us with benchmarking data that compares Sinai Health System with other healthcare facilities across the country. It helped us define best practices that would encourage Mount Sinai to achieve greater sustainability.
“Sinai’s sustainability is unique. The health system has a genuine desire to become the national model for the delivery of urban healthcare.”
We’re looking at LED lighting. The energy savings provided by LED lighting is significant. We’re currently retrofitting 931 exit signs. Our local utility, Commonwealth Edison, has a “Smart Ideas” incentive program that offers reimbursement up to $20 per fixture for the installation of the Grainger-supplied, Radionic LED Exit Sign Retrofit Kit. This installation alone will save us 290,000 kilowatt-hours per year, which translates into savings of $24,000 per year. We are currently looking for funding that would help us become the first healthcare facility in the nation to be 100 percent illuminated by LED. This would save approximately 4.8 million kilowatt-hours per year.
We install variable-frequency drives, or VFDs, with each new or upgraded air-handling unit. Energy is saved when the motor is run at less than full speed. The return on investment is often as little as months. We recently received $14,850 in “Smart Ideas,” incentives to install four Square D VFDs, which have the potential to save us $25,000 annually.
Josh Bruschuk is the director of engineering at Sinai Health System, one of the largest healthcare systems in the United States. In 2011, Sinai joined the Chicago Green Health Care Initiative. Bruschuk, senior director Steve Parker, and operations manager John Burns have since led the system’s efforts to reduce energy use and create more sustainable healthcare system. For more information, visit sinai.org.
We’re also currently updating our Siemens building-automation system. By installing dimmer actuators throughout our parking areas, we expect a decrease in energy usage by 225,000 kilowatt-hours per year, which translates into $18,000 of savings annually.
We recently replaced 1,700 steam traps at Mount Sinai when a utility survey showed a higher-than-normal trend in our natural gas bills. Steam traps are automatic valves within a steam system that filter out condensation. If these traps aren’t working properly, steam escapes, and water is lost. Your natural-gas costs also rise because you have to heat more water to make up for the steam loss. The replacement saved us $75,000 annually in natural gas costs. We also reduced our annual water usage by 21 million gallons, which will generate $60,690 of energy savings annually.
The cost savings that these sustainability initiatives generate help the community tremendously. We’re a safety-net hospital, meaning our goal is to improve the health of the community we serve by providing services that may not be available otherwise.
Sinai’s sustainability is unique among other health systems. The health system has a genuine desire to become the national model for the delivery of urban healthcare. From Sodexo’s engineering, food, and environmental team to Mount Sinai’s caregivers, everyone is focused on sustainability.
Up Close & Personal
What was your first job? As a young entrepreneur, I cut lawns around the neighborhood. This was my first real introduction to customer service.
If you weren’t in your current field, what would you be doing? I might work in energy management but on the finance side. I’m fascinated with the world market and how changes in the global environment affect energy costs.
What inspires you? I enjoy helping people.
Describe yourself in three words. I’m motivated, efficient, and trustworthy.
What is your hidden talent? I get along well with others.