Op-ed: Building energy efficiency to improve air quality

As Utah’s population is projected to double by 2050, we believe that businesses, organizations, families and policymakers can meet this challenge head-on by finding impactful ways to improve local air quality. Intermountain Healthcare’s mission is “Helping people live the healthiest lives possible.” For us, the focus of our mission is providing the best healthcare to our patients, but our mission extends beyond our hospitals and clinics, into the communities that we serve.

Intermountain Healthcare takes seriously the impact that the operation of our facilities has on the local environment and our air quality. Our current initiatives to reduce our footprint include promoting and participating in the Clean Air Challenge and the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Skyline Challenge, installing solar at our Supply Chain Center and the Intermountain Park City Hospital, expanding recycling efforts, promoting public transit to our employees, making changes to our automotive fleet and implementing energy efficiency upgrades such as LED lighting and boiler/chiller upgrades.

When it comes to reducing energy use in our clinics and hospitals, we start with benchmarking the energy consumption in a facility. After all “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” Benchmarking shows us which facilities are running efficiently and which are using more energy than needed and contributing to unnecessary pollution.

All of our hospitals and most of our clinics have already been benchmarked and we’re actively striving for Energy Star Certifications in our facilities. Energy Star Certification is available to the top 25 percent most efficient buildings. To date, five Intermountain hospitals as well as our Supply Chain Center are Energy Star Certified. Energy efficiency is a cost-effective strategy that delivers savings and reduces emissions year over year for the life of a building, while lowering operating costs and helping us direct our financial resources to provide the best care for…

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