Kermit the Frog knew what he was talking about: It’s not easy being green.
Worries about global warming and emerging government policies are moving many companies to lean toward being environmentally friendly, or “green.” The process isn’t easy, nor is it cheap, but the benefits are well worth the initial cost and effort.
City of Hope leaders believe environmental friendliness makes sense and contributes to the institution’s mission. These beliefs are reflected in new campus buildings.
|New solar panels shimmer on the roof of the Michael Amini Transfusion Medicine Center (Photo by p.cunningham)|
Building design matters: Heating, cooling and power generated for the workplace cause nearly 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States and are responsible for more than 70 percent of total electricity usage.
The U.S. Green Building Council sets special standards covering issues like water and energy efficiency and materials. If buildings meet these standards, they can be certified as “LEED,” which stands for leadership in energy and environmental design.
City of Hope expects to receive Silver LEED certification ratings on two buildings under construction on its Duarte, Calif., campus. Thanks to funding by The Home Depot Foundation, solar panels installed on the roof of the Michael Amini Transfusion Medicine Center will provide 10 to 15 percent of the building’s electricity.
The design of the building expansion of the Leslie & Susan Gonda (Goldschmied) Diabetes & Genetic Research Center also will accommodate a solar energy system on its roof.
But that’s not all.
A few years ago, City of Hope built a 2.1-million-gallon thermal storage tank to store cold water used to operate air conditioners on campus. Electricity demands — and costs — are the highest during the warmest times of the day, so the campus runs its electric water chillers in the evening when it’s coldest. Then it draws 39-degree water down from the tank to cool the campus during the heat of the day.
Besides taking advantage of cold temperatures, City of Hope is taking advantage of heat, too. It’s installing a new steam-run chiller that will tap into the excess steam generated by City of Hope’s gas-fired boilers to provide heat, hot water and sterilization systems to the campus.
Then there’s transportation. Driving to work piles additional stress on the environment as well as the economy. Commuters add 1.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere every year. Plus, traffic congestion costs American businesses 3.7 billion hours in lost productivity yearly.
That’s $63.1 billion in wasted time and fuel.
To help ease the pressure, City of Hope bought a 25-passenger bus last year and established free, regular service between the campus and a local Metrolink train station. The institution also offers two vanpools to and from local communities.
For more information on how you and your employer can go green, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Web site at www.epa.gov. For commuting alternatives in Southern California, visit www.commutesmart.info.