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Tuality Healthcare snares Sustainability Excellence Award

May 17, 2011

For immediate release
Contact:  Gerry Ewing / 503-681-1654

Tuality Healthcare’s push to embrace sustainability has paid off with a 2011 Leadership Award for Sustainable Excellence from VHA Inc., a national network of not-for-profit health care organizations.

Tuality was one of 13 hospitals nationwide to be honored for developing and implementing outstanding sustainability programs. Steve Krautscheid, Tuality’s director of facilities & properties, accepted the award on behalf of western Washington County’s leading healthcare provider at VHA’s annual leadership conference over the weekend in San Diego.

“This is a terrific honor for our organization,” said Krautscheid. “Oregonians take sustainability very seriously and we do too as a healthcare organization. We take great pride in our program and are glad that VHA has recognized it for its excellence.”

Tuality emphasizes reduce/reuse/recycle initiatives in all of its operations. The shining star of the organization’s sustainability effort is the Intermodal Transit Facility (ITF), an innovative 5-story structure with 794 parking stalls, plus Portland Community College classrooms on the ground floor.

“VHA congratulates Tuality on this honor and for their commitment to sustainability,” said Colleen Risk, VHA executive vice president. “…VHA hopes other hospitals and health systems will take steps to reduce health care’s environmental impact and help to create a more sustainable future.” VHA serves more than 1,350 not-for-profit hospitals and more than 30,000 non-acute health care organizations nationwide.

The ITF is a model for partnership and sustainability. Tuality partnered with the city of Hillsboro and Pacific University to secure funding and build the facility. It provides parking for the public, the community college, local clinics and the partner organizations. TriMet’s MAX light-rail line is only a block away, making the ITF the ideal place for commuters to park and catch the train to points east from Hillsboro, through Beaverton and Portland, all the way to the east-end terminus in Gresham.

The facility also contains a secure bicycle parking facility with showers, lockers, changing areas, even tire pumps and tools. In addition, the facility has 13 parking stalls with electric vehicle charging stations. One of the results of this facility is 15 percent of Tuality employees and 46 percent of Pacific University employees and students use alternative transportation. Four other sustainable initiatives in the building are worth noting:

Energy usage. The facility uses light-emitting diode (LED) lighting and lighting ballasts with photo sensors. The result is the lighting uses 55 percent less power than average. And the light ballasts save energy because only one-third of the lights are on during daylight hours.

Building material. Most of the materials were harvested or manufactured within 500 miles of the site, saving transportation costs. A good portion of the materials contain recycled content. Over 96 percent of materials were recycled, not sent to a landfill.

Storm water runoff. Three bioswale “ponds” help contain runoff from the parking structure. Pervious concrete in some areas allows rain water to filter into the soil.

Solar panels. The ITF sports a solar photovoltaic array on its top deck that can produce 89 percent of the facility’s energy needs on an annual basis.

Numerous other features are part of Tuality’s sustainability program. Recycling centers were created in numerous public areas and break rooms. Cooking oil from kitchens is recycled into biofuel. And a number of promotional materials have been converted from printed products to digital, online products.

The result of all this is Tuality Healthcare is saving energy, promoting alternative forms of transportation, and striving to be as “green” as possible.

“Congratulations to all of the Tuality team as well as our community partners who have made sustainable practices a priority,” Krautscheid said after accepting the award in San Diego. “This award acknowledges those efforts and provides a stimulus to pursue additional improvements to protect our community's health.”