Grady goes greener
While sustainability has long been a focus of Grady Hospital (they’re in the business of sustaining life, after all), they’re now expanding their environmental sustainability programs thanks to $850,000 that the Grady Health Foundation received from the Kendeda Fund, a private Atlanta-based grant-making foundation – funds that will be matched by the Grady Health System. The support allow the creation of a Green Revolving Fund (GRF), a financing tool to invest in sustainability projects like energy efficiency, water conservation and renewable energy, that will in turn produce cost savings that the hospital will reinvest into future sustainability projects and direct patient care.
“We are grateful for the opportunity this new Green Revolving Fund will create for Grady to meet two important goals,” said Renay Blumenthal, president of the Grady Health Foundation, in a press release. “It will allow us to be better stewards of the public and private dollars that are invested into the hospital every year by reducing our operating costs, and it will also allow us to be better stewards of the environment by taking a more sustainable approach to our facilities.”
The first project to be funded out of the grant: the replacement of light fixtures throughout the hospital. An energy assessment by Southface Energy Institute in 2015 revealed the replacement as a high-impact project, and jumped it to the top of the list.
“The Kendeda Fund [is] pleased with Grady’s continued efforts to identify innovative ways to create additional savings by enhancing environmental sustainability in their operations,” said Barry Berlin, a fund advisor to the Kendeda Fund. “The fund is proud to make an investment in Grady’s future, and we look forward to seeing the results of this grant and the revolving fund it will create.”
Grady is also joining the Sustainable Endowments Institute’s Billion Dollar Green Challenge, an initiative to encourage hospitals and other nonprofit organizations to invest in self-managed green revolving funds. Grady will receive support for developing and managing the fund, as well as access to a web tool to track, manage and share efficiency data with institutions across North America.
“The new Green Revolving Fund … will allow us to maintain a steady focus on sustainability throughout our organization,” said John Haupert, president and CEO of the Grady Health System.
Grady’s focus on sustainability has grown and demonstrated measurable success in recent years. A comprehensive recycling program started in 2012, for example, diverted more than 154 tons of materials, including plastic bottles, fluorescent light bulbs and non-HIPPA white paper from landfills last year. The hospital is also working to improve the operating and energy efficiency of its chillers, pumps and cooling towers in order to reduce energy waste and operating expenses.