At NYU Langone Health, creating a healthy environment is central to our mission. To fulfill this, we must take into account the environmental, societal, and economic impact we have on our community, and act as good stewards.
We’re striving to make more efficient use of energy and other resources here at NYU Langone. We’re a proud participant in New York City’s strategic sustainability framework, known as PlaNYC, and have committed to a 50 percent carbon reduction goal by 2025 as part of the Carbon Challenge for Hospitals. NYU School of Medicine is also an Achiever and First Mover in the New York State REV Campus Challenge for clean energy commitment.
Since 2005, we have achieved an approximate 25 percent reduction in carbon emissions with the newest addition of NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn, and are on track to meet our goal of 50 percent. We are also committed to pursuing sustainable operating practices, greening our supply chain, reducing our waste footprint, increasing our resiliency in the face of climate change-driven weather events, and pursuing sustainable architectural and construction goals.
We’ve been recognized a number of times already for our sustainability achievements, including the 2016 Emerald Health Award for distinction in sustainable practices, the Circle of Excellence for Energy award, and the Making Medicine Mercury Free award, all from Practice Greenhealth; and the 2009, 2010, and 2017 Association of Energy Engineers Energy and Young Energy Manager of the Year awards. NYU Langone also ranked 13th in the nation in the 2015 EPA Energy Star National Building Competition for energy reduction.
Our commitment to sustainability extends across every facet of NYU Langone. Large-scale efforts, such as energy and waste management, and sustainable architecture, are overseen by our Real Estate Development and Facilities division.
To help us meet our sustainability goals, NYU Langone has invested heavily in building a best-in-class energy management program. Our team delivers reliable, efficient services to the institution to provide a superior healing environment for our patients and comfortable spaces for our visitors, employees, students, and faculty.
We’ve invested in upgraded infrastructure and smart building automation systems, and we support these improvements with dedicated energy managers and facilities staff who keep us running at peak performance. We’re also committed to continuous improvement through regular monitoring and a quality review and assurance process.
Our highly skilled technical staff and advisors forecast energy consumption and anticipate energy market changes, find ways to safely cut electricity use during periods of peak demand, and continuously identify areas for energy conservation and operational improvements.
Our energy engineers and operations managers also work hand-in-hand with our architects and designers on construction projects, to ensure that new buildings benefit from the most efficient operating environments we can provide.
Combined Heat and Power
Completed in 2016, the 71,000-square-foot Energy Building houses the new energy infrastructure serving NYU Langone’s main campus. The energy plant provides primary electric service to the campus and its combined heat and power generation technology produces cleaner energy more economically. The plant will also efficiently accommodate anticipated growth in energy consumption; we expect the CHP plant to meet 60 percent of the NYU Langone main campus’ future electricity requirements, and 100 percent of future steam requirements.
CHP, also called cogeneration, is the simultaneous production of two or more useful energy sources from a single fuel source—in this case, natural gas. Our CHP plant has an 11-megawatt load capacity, producing enough steam to heat approximately 1,650 homes; and enough electricity to power about 7,400 homes (both estimates based on the average U.S. home size).
CHP brings many benefits to the environment, the community, and the institution, including:
- increasing NYU Langone’s ability to handle large-scale blackouts and grid disruptions, such as those experienced during Superstorm Sandy
- reducing utility costs and managing fluctuating electricity costs
- requiring less fuel to produce the same energy output, increasing fuel-use efficiency from roughly 33 percent to 83 percent
- reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 10 percent and air pollution by as much as 70 percent
The objective of NYU Langone’s sustainable architecture program is to consider holistically how we design, build, and operate facilities that foster superior healing environments. We are committed to innovation in sustainable building practices for health care and seek out LEED and WELL certification for renovations and new construction, where appropriate. We also set high standards for sustainable furniture, seeking to reduce chemicals of concern and create healthy interior spaces for patients and staff.
NYU Langone considers the following environmental aspects of critical importance for our projects:
- energy and water use
- carbon footprint
- site selection and landscape
- health and productivity
- facades and daylight
- construction and materials use
- overall resource use
Purchasing and Waste Management
The resources we use carry with them a full life cycle: sourcing, use, and disposal. We strive to take the environmental impact of each of these steps into account when making purchasing decisions, and through reduction, reuse, and recycling of materials. Our goal is to develop strategies that identify environmentally preferable products and to expand our use of suppliers who are committed to environmental excellence.
NYU Langone’s source-separted recycling program diverts paper, cardboard, plastics, glass, and metals away from landfills. In addition, we recycle more than 50 tons of electronic waste per year. We also have a robust hazardous and universal waste recycling program that collects everything from light bulbs to batteries to unused laboratory chemicals from across the institution.
Some examples of source reduction include NYU Langone’s reusable sharps container program that keeps more than 150,000 pounds of plastic waste out of the landfill each year. Where we have central sterile facilities, we also employ reusable rigid cases to replace our one-time use blue-wrap after sterilization of operating room instruments. These cases not only reduce waste, but also extend the lifetime of these delicate instruments. We’ve moved to paperless registration in many facilities to reduce paper consumption. And in 2016, we took another big step forward in our sustainability effort when we implemented a closed loop reprocessing program for single-use devices in operating rooms and medical–surgical areas.
The healthcare sector recognizes that chemicals can play a role in disease development and environmental safety and NYU Langone has taken a lead in pursuing programs to help reduce chemical usage and exposure. We look at ways to reduce pharmaceutical waste, disinfectants, and conventional cleaning products. We’ve achieved virtual elimination of mercury-containing materials and instituted policies that focus on reduction of PVC, DEHP, flame retardants, and other chemicals of concern in our interiors. The goal is to provide the safest and healthiest environment for our staff and patients.
Our housekeeping team works to improve our cleaning practices. The team uses microfiber cloths, and cleaners certified by Green Seal; and identifies areas where the use of disinfectants can be minimized or eliminated. To maintain many of our floors, we rely on automatic scrubbing machines that employ ionized water, rather than additional chemicals, to achieve necessary disinfection levels. And we use vacuums certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval/Green Label program.
We have also employed an integrative pest management (IPM) program at many of our sites and continue to grow this beneficial practice. IPM is an effective and environmentally conscious approach that relies on proactive, preventative, knowledge-based, and low-risk methods that minimize the use of pesticides.
Water is a precious global resource that must be protected and used efficiently. At NYU Langone, our objective is to fully understand and analyze our water footprint across all properties, and employ innovative, effective water efficiency and conservation measures, projects, and technologies. We have already driven down water usage, in pursuit of a goal to reach reductions of 35 percent by 2025. One of our medical office buildings was recognized with first place for water reduction in its category in the 2015 EPA Energy Star National Building Competition; and NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital was number one for reduction in hospitals in 2016 in the same competition.
Our LEED-certified building projects incorporate green infrastructure, water-efficient fixtures and machines, and water-reducing operating strategies. And we are incorporating other green infrastructure, such as green and blue roofs, to help manage storm water runoff and protect New York City’s waterways.
Healthier Food Options
Healthy eating plays an integral role in wellness and the healing process. NYU Langone is committed to providing the healthiest and freshest food options to our patients, employees, students, and visitors. We work to enhance the taste and nutritional content of our patient meals, and whenever possible to serve local, seasonal, and chemical- and hormone-free foods. Knowing the negative environmental impact of meat production and the rise in antibiotic resistance diseases, NYU Langone has a focus on moving toward the use of antibiotic-free poultry and meats and more plant-based recipes.
Our popular pop-up market tables in the Tisch Café provide farm-fresh meal options that highlight in-season foods, showing visitors how they can also focus on these healthy items when they cook at home.
NYU Langone has also partnered with Local Roots NYC to offer a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program to employees, staff, and students each week throughout the year. It is a convenient way for our employees to be connected with fresh, sustainably-grown foods, and to support the local food economy.
We are grateful to be located in the New York City metro area, not only one of the most walkable cities in the world, but one with great mass transit infrastructure and an ever-growing number of dedicated bike lanes. We encourage employees to take advantage of these sustainable commute options.
In addition, in 2016, NYU Langone joined the U.S. Department of Energy’s Workplace Charging Challenge to increase the convenience and affordability of driving electric for our employees, patients and visitors. Stations have been installed in both public and employee parking lots near its Manhattan campuses, and NYU Langone is committed to expanding this program to make plug in electric vehicle drivers feel confident in being able to get where they need to go.
For More Information
If you have questions or want to learn more about NYU Langone’s commitment to sustainability, please email us at email@example.com.