Green Efforts to Continue at VAPAHCS - VA Palo Alto Health Care System
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VA Palo Alto Health Care System

 

Green Efforts to Continue at VAPAHCS

Steven Elliott, Chief of Engineering Service at VAPAHCS

Steven Elliott, Chief of Engineering Service, oversees many energy and water conservation initiatives at VAPAHCS.

By Michael Hill-Jackson
Wednesday, April 19, 2017

VA Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS) has always made efforts in operations to reduce costs and conserve energy for many years by way of many federal programs and local initiatives. It was in 2011 that a “Green Team” made these efforts visible with a large-scale community event on Earth Day that not only highlighted local partnerships but brought many people together to learn how they can help at work or at home.

Since then, green efforts have increased as awareness among staff encouraged many new ideas. Check out some of the new efforts from the past year and currently underway:

Community Involvement

Every year on Veterans Day, a team of volunteers from Canopy, staff and Veterans celebrate by planting trees and other greenery on one of our campuses. The trees provide many benefits, from shielding noise pollution to creating a more calming environment for our Veterans. In 2016, the team planted 19 trees at our VA Menlo Park division that will provide shade and greenery for years to come.

Bike Commuter Group

VAPAHCS’ Employee Wellness program created the Bike Commuter Group, a group of over 50 cyclists who are interested in increasing the number of employees biking to work. The group advocates for bike users on campus by working to increase safety and encourage beginners to start riding to work, from home.

Campus resources have also increased to offer a Bike Repair station at the Palo Alto and Menlo Park campuses for both staff and Veterans to keep their bikes maintained.

Boiler Plant Upgrades

VA Palo Alto Health Care System not only complies with federal standards but also works with local agencies to ensure we are meeting the air quality standards of the San Francisco Bay Area.

In 2017, there are projects underway to retrofit boiler systems at the Palo Alto and Menlo Park divisions, reducing nitrous oxide emissions to maintain compliance.

Recycling and Compost Program

Last, and one of the most public facing changes, is the new compost and recycling program at the Palo Alto Division. Working with the City of Palo Alto, the Environmental Management Service (EMS) sought to meet the standards of the new Recycling and Composting Ordinance adopted by the city. Through this ordinance, everyone in Palo Alto is required to place their discards into the appropriate container – recycle, compost, or garbage.

With a commitment to helping the city divert waste from the landfill and staying compliant with the new ordinance, EMS has launched a full deployment across the VA Palo Alto campus of marked receptacles to help staff easily separate their waste.

Learn more about green efforts made by the health care system on the VAPAHCS Sustainability website.

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