April 22, 2021

Earth Day Every Day: Green Initiatives at Cooley Dickinson

April 22, 2021

The Cooley Dickinson Sustainability Committee has begun to review equipment, policies and practices that could be potentially further optimized, modified or eliminated and replaced to produce energy savings, more sustainable practices and a reduction of the organization’s overall carbon footprint.

Earlier this year, the committee identified sustainability goals that have already been achieved or are in the process of being implemented, including eliminating items like Styrofoam, and replacing others like plastic straws with paper ones and plastic beverage bottles with aluminum or cardboard.

The Cooley Dickinson “Green Team,” chaired by Director of Support Services Tim Culhane and sponsored by VP of Operations Tony Scibelli, has also worked to replace a significant amount of Cooley Dickinson’s lighting with ultra-efficient LED fixtures (some with additional motion-sensor energy savers that you may have noticed in your hallway), and to ramp up recycling and use-reduction efforts in areas like computer paper, cardboard, sharps, scrap metal and batteries.

The kitchen/cafeteria/Nutrition dept. have also continued to be leaders in multiple sustainability efforts including pioneering blended burgers, local sourcing of beef and produce, composting and donation of leftover food to local shelters like Springfield’s Rachel’s Table and Northampton’s Manna Community Kitchen to prevent food waste and help feed hungry people in the region.

The COVID-19 pandemic has actually aided in realizing some sustainability goals for Cooley Dickinson. With remote work policies still in place, the hospital uses less of many resources, from office paper to individual air conditioning units to water in the hospital’s bathrooms. It also contributes to carbon reduction by negating the commutes of all its remote workers who typically drive an average of 5-15 miles a day each way to get to work and back.

The committee’s focus is on achievable goals, including better recycling options for printer cartridges and annual tree plantings spearheaded by the Facilities dept. Potential future projects like further upgrades to Cooley Dickinson’s power plant, landscaping opportunities and ongoing legal and logistical discussions of parking lot solar canopies continue, and hope to meet some of the hospital’s energy needs, reduce its carbon footprint, and keep your car cool in the summer and ice-free in the winter.

Members of the Green Team are making pledges to do one thing that helps in some concrete way: bringing their own silverware to work to cut down on excess plastic used; making sure lights and devices are all powered down at the end of the day; ensuring that all recyclable items find their way to the proper container and aren’t treated as trash. They invite all Cooley Dickinson employees to do the same.

“It takes a team effort to achieve a higher level of green sustainability,” says Culhane. “That starts with each of us, daily.”