TBRHSC Receives Prestigious Award from Chamber of Commerce

Earlier this year, TBRHSC received the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce “Environmental Stewardship Award,” accepted by (left to right); Randy Mehagan, Manager of Housekeeping Services; Anne Marie Heron, Executive Director of Capital Planning and Operations; and Kathryn Shewfelt, Director of Environmental Services

Earlier this year, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) was the proud recipient of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce Environmental Stewardship Award, sponsored by Ontario Power Generation.

The award is presented to the organization that best exemplifies environmentally sustainable operations through their normal course of business and in day-to-day operations.

Our vision, ’Healthy Together’ speaks not only of our commitment to the health of our patients and the team that supports them, but also to the health of the environment.  We strive to reduce our environmental impact through a number of initiatives including an extensive 3R’s Program, pollution prevention and investments in new technology.

Our procurement strategy encourages and recognizes suppliers who offer “green” products, chemicals, or reusable and/or biodegradable packaging.  The majority of obsolete equipment and supplies are sent to developing countries through MEMO (Medical Equipment Modernization Opportunity) rather than landfill or hazardous waste disposal.  This includes hospital beds, renal dialysis machines, x-ray units, old linens, pallets of medical supplies and more.

We were among the leaders in Thunder Bay that provided sponsorship funds and electronic waste toward a local E-Waste Diversion Pilot Project in 2003, the first electronic waste program started in Thunder Bay.  We now provide hospital employees the opportunity to purchase computers, monitors and printers that are no longer compatible with hospital technology.  The funds collected are provided to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation for patient care needs.

Many staff have been educated in proper medication disposal to reduce water pollution. We’ve invested in a fleet of floor cleaning machines using new technology that mechanically charges water to clean our 350,000 sq ft of floors. This is a major reduction of chemical pollution.

TBRHSC is proud to have one of the most extensive and successful recycling programs in Thunder Bay, something the organization has been able to achieve while keeping the program almost cost neutral.   We have been recycling materials since 1992, when a local recycler began collecting cardboard and pop cans.  Our program has expanded significantly and we now recycle all plastic materials from #1 to #7, sending an 800-pound “sandwich” bale of plastic materials to Southern Ontario for recycling every 2 – 3 days.  We encourage staff to participate in our plastic and battery recycling programs.

These initiatives have diverted a total of 304,184.87 kg of TBRHSC waste from landfill in 2014.

In efforts to improve energy usage and conservation, we’ve completed an Energy Retrofit Project for 2012-2014, including boiler controls and heat systems and recovery, air handling systems and ventilation along with chiller plant optimization.

TBRHSC is proud to have one of the most extensive and successful recycling programs in Thunder Bay, something the organization has been able to achieve while keeping the program almost cost neutral.

We implemented a number of changes to reduce energy use and loss, which include over 80 occupancy sensors installed in washrooms and have planned implementation in offices and meeting rooms; ongoing conversion to LED bulbs and tubes to achieve a savings of over 24,000 watts; along with methods of encouraging staff to reduce energy use where they can, such as turning off computers and equipment during off hours.

We also implemented a new computerized Preventative Maintenance Management System which helps manage our equipment to ensure it is working at optimum efficiency, keeping energy use at a minimum.

We will continue to reduce our ecological footprint.  Participation continues to grow.  Making smart investments in energy wise equipment is becoming a norm. We are dedicated to our environment, striving to be “Healthy Together”.

TBRHSC would like to thank Patrick Fenlin of “Bin There, Dump That” for the nomination.