205587 ENERGY STAR and public health professionals: Working together to address climate change and its human health effects

Monday, November 9, 2009: 5:30 PM

Elizabeth Blackburn, RN BSN , U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC
Maria Tikoff Vargas , EPA's Energy Star Program, US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC
Background:

Energy use in commercial and industrial buildings is responsible for about 45 percent of the U.S. greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change. Healthcare ranks 4th in carbon emissions and healthcare organizations spend more than $8 billion each year on energy. The opportunity to reduce greenhouse has emissions is significant, since as much as 30 percent of the energy consumed in commercial and industrial buildings is often wasted. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) ENERGY STAR program can help organizations reduce emissions, cut costs and demonstrate leadership in the local community.

Methods:

Through the ENERGY STAR program, EPA works in partnership with more than 12,000 organizations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficient products and practices. EPA's ENERGY STAR partnership offers a proven energy management strategy that helps in measuring current energy performance, setting goals, tracking savings, and rewarding improvements.

Results:

The ENERGY STAR program provides an innovative energy performance rating system which businesses have already used for more than 62,000 buildings across the country. More than 65 percent of acute care hospitals in the US have used EPA's tools to benchmark their energy use and over one-hundred healthcare facilities have earned the ENERGY STAR for superior energy performance. I n 2007, Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved enough energy to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 27 million cars while saving $16 billion on their utility bills.

Conclusions:

Public health professionals can utilize EPA's no-cost tools and strategies to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as save money in the workplace, in healthcare settings, at home and in the community.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the ENERGY STAR program including the tools and strategies available to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions 2. Demonstrate how ENERGY STAR strategies have been used in various settings including in the workplace, in healthcare settings, at home and in the community, to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. 3. Discuss the potential opportunities for collaboration between public health professionals and the ENERGY STAR program.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Maria Vargas is the brand manager for EPA's Energy Star Program
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.