Mercy Goes Green to Save Money and the Earth

April 18, 2014

Co-worker Yolanda Ferrell tends her garden at Mercy Hospital Carthage

Whether it’s constructing new buildings to meet ENERGY STAR standards or removing unnecessary lighting, Mercy’s Green Team members across four states are saving money while reducing the impact our facilities have on the environment.

“This is good for our communities, patients and for our planet,” explained Doug Neidigh, Mercy executive director of energy and sustainability. “Our co-workers are implementing strategies that reduce our energy consumption, waste generation and water consumption. It’s all about stewardship and making smarter use of our resources.”

Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas in Rogers, Ark., has achieved the ENERGY STAR recognition by using 35 percent less energy compared to similar buildings across the nation. New construction across Mercy is being designed to significantly reduce energy consumption as well. At Mercy Hospital Fort Scott in Kansas and Mercy Hospital Ardmore in Oklahoma, lighting has been reduced in patient hallways. That has not only reduced cost, it has created a quieter atmosphere that patients have appreciated.

In some cases, Mercy has taken its green efforts into local communities including:

  • An initiative to dramatically increase the volume and number of materials recycled at Mercy Hospital Lebanon in Missouri which led to a partnership with Laclede Industries – a company that employs people with disabilities.
  • A Mercy grant to support a school gardening program so students can learn about plant science and healthy eating in Springfield, Mo.
  • A local vegetable buying program for Mercy St. Louis co-workers through a partnership with a local farm, which brings fresh vegetables to the main hospital once a week through a community supported agriculture program.
  • Land set aside so co-workers can sign up to plant a garden at Mercy Hospital Carthage Each year the plots provide so much produce that other co-workers get to share the harvest.

When it comes to green initiatives, reusing can be just as effective as recycling, especially when it benefits other co-workers. In St. Louis, Mercy developed the ReStore, where co-workers can donate or pick up household items and clothing. In Oklahoma City, the thrift store has gone virtual on a site called “Catherine’s Attic.” Mercy departments post things like office furniture or filing cabinets they no longer use so other departments can claim them rather than buying new.

“Care of the earth is one of the critical concerns of the Sisters of Mercy,” explained Sister Cabrini Koelsch. “Therefore it is part of our responsibility in stewardship.”