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May 31, 2007

UPMC expands “green” efforts

UPMC announced the creation of a $5 million “green action fund” to support new environmental initiatives across the health system.

“UPMC is signaling its deep commitment to a program of comprehensive environmental stewardship,” said William Smith, UPMC’s director of environmental health and safety.

According to Smith, the new fund potentially will cover installation of energy-efficient heating, cooling and electrical equipment; replacement of plumbing valves and fixtures to reduce water consumption; removal of building materials that contain polyvinyl chloride, and replacement of various products and chemicals used daily in the hospitals to reduce sources of toxicity.

UPMC joins other companies, nonprofit institutions and government agencies in support of the Rachel Carson Legacy Challenge: green steps to a sustainable future. The objective of the challenge is to demonstrate how coordinated commitments to environmentally sustainable practices can make a difference in the health, quality of life and economic viability of communities.

Even before creation of this new fund, UPMC had supported such environmental efforts as the removal of virtually all mercury-containing items at UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside and Magee-Womens Hospital; the recycling of more than 1 million pounds of paper annually, and the building of one of the first environmentally sustainable pediatric hospitals.

Hospitals for a Healthy Environment has recognized both Magee-Womens Hospital and the Hillman Cancer Center for their commitment to reducing the impact of their operations on the environment and the local community.

With a grant from the Heinz Endowments, UPMC recently created a new senior leadership position, director of environmental initiatives, to help develop and monitor industry-leading environmental policies across the organization.

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