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LIJ promises to be greener

The North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System signed an agreement last week with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that will help the health system’s 12 hospitals became more environmentally efficient.

North Shore-LIJ Chief Executive Officer Michael Dowling called the agreement a “historic green partnership.”

“It shows a relationship between us and the EPA that is going to bear fruit going forward,” he said at the Feinstein Institute in Manhasset, L.I. “Protecting the environment makes real good sense. Of course, it also makes enormous economic sense. We help the bottom line, we help the community, we help one another.”

Judith Enck, the EPA’s regional administrator for New York, said “there is an intersection between pollution and health,” giving asthma rates and lead poisoning as examples.

“This intersection between health care and the environment is key,” she said.

North Shore-LIJ already has completed a $15 million energy conservation plan and recycles batteries, fluorescent lights and electronic equipment, Enck said.

“The steps you’re taking today ... is really going to change the picture on Long Island,” she said. “These effects are going to be felt locally and globally. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Earth Day.”

Maurice LaBonne, the health system’s senior vice president of facilities services, said North Shore-LIJ consumes $100 million a year in energy.

Frank Porretto, North Shore-LIJ’s energy manager, said 10 percent of that energy is used at LIJ Medical Center.

LaBonne said the construction of the Katz Women’s Hospital on the North Shore University Hospital campus will be reducing energy usage by 18 percent and water usage by 40 percent once the facility is up and running.

He said 20 percent of the construction material used to build the hospital will be coming from recycled products.

As part of the agreement, North Shore-LIJ will make an effort to trim energy consumption by 10 percent.

As far as the hundreds of millions of dollars in construction projects the health system is undertaking, North Shore-LIJ promises to reuse industrial and landscaping materials and construction materials will include as much recycled content as possible.

The health system said it will also try to enhance its combined heat and power plant at LIJ Medical Center, which was built four years ago and supplies electrical energy to the hospital’s boiler and chiller operations and heat for steam and hot water used in the facility.

The power plant has helped LIJ Medical Center reduce its energy costs by 10 percent to 12 percent, Porretto said.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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