Dignity. Excellence. Justice. Service. Stewardship. These core values drive Mercy in caring for patients and for the environment we all share.
“The Sisters of Mercy have always been committed to protecting our Earth,” said Tom Brinkmann, Mercy director of facilities maintenance and operations. “As a facilities team, that means we are proactive in finding ways to conserve energy.”
Finding ways to be energy efficient is at the forefront of planning for any new construction or renovation at Mercy. Mercy works with energy conservation experts, like Northwest Arkansas-based Bernhard, to design and implement energy saving strategies.
Existing facilities provide numerous opportunities for energy efficiency improvements through renovation projects, replacing HVAC and chiller units, upgrading building automation and retrofitting LED lighting.
“Upgrading to LED lighting may not sound like a big deal, but with hundreds of buildings spread out over our four states, the energy savings add up quickly and can make a significant impact,” Brinkmann said.
Mercy’s energy conservation has drawn praise from Ameren Missouri, the main electricity provider in the St. Louis region. The utility recently honored Mercy with its Energy Efficiency Champion Award, given to one organization for 2022, in recognition of the 4.4 million kilowatt-hours Mercy has saved annually through its various projects.
Other utilities, including Arkansas Oklahoma Gas, Black Hills Energy, Oklahoma Gas & Electric, and Spire, also offer incentive programs in which Mercy has participated. Using these incentives, Mercy has reduced the equivalent of another 1 million kilowatt-hours each year.
“These projects have worthy benefits – they are a wise use of the energy resources available to our communities, and the money saved and incentives earned support our mission of caring for patients in need,” said Kevin Minder, Mercy senior vice president of mission and community health.
Mercy’s energy efficiency improvements include:
- Boiler replacements at Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City, Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas and Mercy Hospital Washington.
- Air handling and control upgrades at Mercy Hospital Fort Smith and Mercy Hospital Waldron in Arkansas.
- New construction of The Mercy Center for Performance Medicine & Specialty Care in St. Louis.
- New construction of Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital South in St. Louis.
- Rebuilding of Mercy Birthplace – South and other women’s health services in Mercy Hospital South in St. Louis.
- Chiller replacement and cooling tower upgrades for Mercy Technology Services in St. Louis.
- Building automation upgrades at numerous facilities.
- Conversion to LED lighting at numerous facilities.
- HVAC retro-commissioning across Mercy’s facilities.
Energy efficiency is not the only eco-friendly initiative Mercy carries out. In 2019, at the urging of the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy began phasing out sales of bottled water in every facility it owns. Instead of using plastic bottles, co-workers, patients and visitors are encouraged to fill reusable cups or purchase water in aluminum cans or cartons.