Officials at the Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica say the hospital is doing its part to stay environmentally friendly year round, from the opening of its new facilities to the implementation of its new Reduce Individual Driving Emissions (RIDE) program.

RIDE, a program aimed at motivating employees to use alternative modes of transportation to work as a way to reduce both their carbon footprint and the number of cars coming to Saint John’s each day, is one of the hospital’s latest efforts to be green. To reach this year’s goal, Saint John’s has implemented several programs, including benefits for carpoolers, vanpoolers, employees taking public transit and moped, motorcycle and bicycle riders.

“I am confident that our aggressive campaign will motivate employees to get onboard our efforts to improve our vehicle trip reduction goal for this year,” Vice President of Human Resources Steve Sharrer, who is in charge of transportation at Saint John’s, said. “We’re committed to meeting this goal and being the community leader in reducing our emissions and total trips by our employees.”

Saint John’s new facilities were specifically constructed to be environmentally friendly, hospital officials note. The health center’s natural gas-powered turbine co-generates electricity at approximately twice the efficiency of community providers and allows the hospital to produce 95 percent of its own power, they said.

The new heating and cooling systems are regulated by a computer program that uses projected weather changes to control the temperature inside buildings. In addition, windows at Saint John’s have a special reflective coating for ultraviolet protection that helps make temperature control more efficient.

In an effort to conserve energy, Saint John’s uses compact fluorescent lamps and time-out switches on all lighting in both the Howard Keck and the Chan Soon Shiong Center for Health Sciences, officials said. Another green practice is the use of reclaimed wastewater through the cooling tower, which saves 30,000 gallons of water daily.

The hospital is also recycling paper, cardboard, bottles, aluminum cans and batteries and re-purposed over 100 tons of material, including equipment, furniture and supplies from the old facilities, to be used in the new buildings, officials explain.

“By recycling and reducing our footprint on the environment, we are not only bettering Santa Monica but also setting an example for other businesses in the area,” Tish Starbuck, vice president of mission and ethics, said. “We are doing everything we can to make a lasting, positive impact.”

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