Sitting at a table on the front lawn on its Avenue E campus on Sept. 16, the Bayonne Medical Center became the first hospital in the state to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Surrounded by furniture and other items that would be installed at the hospital as part of its effort to become more environmentally friendly, Dan Kane, president and CEO of BMC, joined Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Deputy Regional Administrator George Pavlou and U.S. Senator Robert Menendez in signing an agreement aimed at conserving energy, reducing waste, and implementing other environmentally friendly initiatives at the hospital. This is the first such agreement between the EPA and a hospital in New Jersey.
“This is a great day for Bayonne Medical Center.” – Dan Kane
BMC will serve the EPA as a model for other hospitals and institutions around the state, which includes corporations and institutions of higher learning. Currently, the EPA hopes to bring on Hackensack Medical Center in the near future, officials said.
“Bayonne Medical Center has a history of improving the health of the people they serve, and the environmentally sound practices in this agreement will help them create a healthier environment for all,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judie A. Enck. “Other hospitals in New Jersey should look to Bayonne’s example and do their part to create healthier communities.”
“We’ve been developing this for a while,” Kane said. “We believe this is the right thing to do.”
Kane said by using recycled materials, energy-efficient lighting, and other environmentally friendly items, the hospital hopes to reduce its carbon footprint. He said that while the building may be more than 100 years old, there are things that can be done to make it more energy efficient, including the use of materials and cleaning products.
The agreement commits Bayonne Medical Center into participating in various EPA environmental stewardship programs, with technical assistance and support from the EPA.
Kane said under the agreement, BMC would install a new solar panel system on the roof of its parking garage, implement a program that would separate collection of food for composting, and achieve at least a 10 percent reduction in overall energy consumption. The hospital, Kane said, has agreed to reuse industrial materials, including electronic waste.
The hospital, he said, would also seek to conserve water by using its storm water management system, and improve its landscaping procedures in consultation with the EPA’s Greenscapes Program.
As part of the agreement, BMC will submit an annual report to the EPA.
“In our Medical Center’s Environmental Policy Statement, we commit to protecting the health and well being of our patients, staff, and the community where we live and work by continuously improving our programs to reduce waste, minimize the use of hazardous materials, prevent pollution, improve efficient use of our valuable natural resources, develop renewable energy sources, increase recycling, comply with all environmental regulations, and work toward sustainability,” according to a statement issued by the hospital.
According to Sen. Menendez, this partnership agreement is the first of its kind between the federal agency and a New Jersey hospital, with both organizations working together to achieve specific clean energy goals. With technical assistance and support from the EPA and its Energy Star Program, the Bayonne Medical Center will audit its operating procedures and energy usage to develop a plan to reduce energy by 10 percent, as well as reduce water usage.
“This will be the first green hospital initiative with the EPA in the state of New Jersey, leading the way as a model for green medical centers for New Jersey and the nation,” said Sen. Menendez. “Doctors understand that over 400 New Jerseyans must be admitted to hospitals every year because of pollution from power plants. By reducing their energy use, the Bayonne Medical Center is not only helping the environment and saving money, but they are also protecting public health. I congratulate the EPA and the Bayonne Medical Center for partnering on this trailblazing project.”