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Green initiatives

At Geisinger, we are committed to delivering excellent patient care while minimizing our impact on the environment. We focus on Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-Certified buildings, safe work practices, healthy food choices and environmental stewardship.

Environmental stewardship and sustainability

Established in 2011, the Geisinger Sustainability Program works toward improving and increasing environmentally friendly programs and initiatives across the health system. These initiatives include a focus on reducing waste, minimizing the use of hazardous materials, reducing energy and water use, preventing pollution of local waterways and increasing recycling efforts.

In addition, our Sustainability Program staff works closely with Food Services, Employee Wellness and Clinical Nutrition staff to promote healthy and sustainable food choices for patients, visitors and employees. For more information about the Geisinger Sustainability Program call 570-214-6376, Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., or email sustainability_pgm@geisinger.edu.

LEED-certified buildings
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) was established in March 2000 by the U.S. Green Building Council to provide guidelines for measurable and practical green building design, construction, maintenance and operations. Since 2007, Geisinger has been committed to building LEED-certified office buildings and healthcare facilities and is a leader in LEED-certified healthcare projects in Pennsylvania. LEED initiatives not only help the environment, but also promote the health and safety of building occupants.

LEED-certified buildings in the Geisinger Health System include:

  • Geisinger Gray's Woods (State College) - Gold LEED Certified
  • Geisinger Dallas - Silver LEED Certified
  • Geisinger Medical Center Hospital for Advanced Medicine (Danville) - Silver LEED Certified
  • Geisinger Wyoming Valley Critical Care Building (Wilkes-Barre) - Silver LEED Certified
  • Henry Hood Center for Health Research (Danville) - Silver LEED Certified
  • Justin Drive Office Building I (Danville) - Silver LEED Certified
  • Justin Drive Office Building II (Danville) - Silver LEED Certified
  • Buckhorn Office Building - LEED Certified
  • The Frank M. & Dorothea Henry Cancer Center at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center - LEED Certified
  • Geisinger Mt. Pleasant (Scranton) - LEED Certified
  • Mill Street Office Building (Danville) - LEED Certified
  • Geisinger Mountain Top - in process
  • Geisinger Medical Center Laboratory - in process

Medication take-back
The goal of the Geisinger medication take-back program is two-fold:

  • To decrease unintentional overdose and abuse by young children and teenagers
  • To decrease the potential negative impact improperly discarded medications can have on our environment, especially waterways

Geisinger is committed to these goals by offering a medication take-back program designed to improve prescription efficiency and patient awareness of safe disposal methods, particularly of controlled substances. Medication take-back boxes allow the public to return unused or expired prescriptions, including narcotics, for safe and eco-friendly disposal. Currently, take-back boxes are available in the pharmacies at Geisinger Medical Center and Geisinger Knapper clinic in Danville and Geisinger Dallas. Other Geisinger CareSite Pharmacy locations accept all medications except controlled medications and narcotics. From 2012 to present, Geisinger has been able to safely collect and dispose of over 4380 lbs. (2.2 tons) of medications.

In March 2016, Geisinger received a grant from the Williamsport Lycoming Community Fund of the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania to expand the take-back program to several community pharmacies in Lycoming County.

Providing a safer, cleaner environment
Geisinger’s Environmental Services department continually evaluates products and processes throughout the health system to provide a safer and cleaner environment for patients, visitors and staff. They have implemented green cleaning initiatives such as:
• Maximizing the use of Green Seal cleaning products where appropriate. These products meet rigorous, science-based standards developed by the International Organization for Standardization as part of their environmental labeling program.
• Use of special dispensing machines for cleaning products to ensure proper cleaning strength while minimizing chemical and water use.
• Use of microfiber floor mops and cloths to minimize water and chemical use and to reduce the potential for cross-contamination.
• Reduced use of spraying chemicals and eliminated use of aerosol spray products.

Geisinger Stewardship Forest
Established in 1994, the Geisinger Forest Stewardship Plan has conserved the local ground water supply on more than 300 acres of wooded land in Montour County. The forest also provides 12 miles of recreational trails. Click for Stewardship Forest Walking Trail map.

Energy and water-saving initiatives

  • A co-generation (co-gen) power plant on Danville's main campus simultaneously produces heat and electricity, which lowers energy costs and uses fewer natural resources. Heat generated from the process is used to make steam which is used for heating, sterilization purposes and for making domestic hot water.
  • A steam turbine chiller from co-gen (above) uses waste heat to produce chilled water, yielding 1500 tons of cooling at no additional cost.
  • A chilled water storage program cools water at night for use the next day, improving efficiency and lowering cost.
  • The Geisinger Medical Center campus earned a 100 percent rating for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR certification for 2013. This certification indicates superior energy performance and identifies the facility as one of the most energy efficient in the nation.
  • All shuttle bus stops at Geisinger Medical Center have motion-sensor, solar-powered lighting.
  • Solar panels (38 KW photovoltaic solar system) on the Janet Weis Children’s Hospital in Danville provides pollution-free electricity.
  • Energy-efficient LED lighting fixtures have been installed in many interior and exterior locations across the system.
  • Lighting control technologies such as occupancy sensors, light harvesting sensors and solar shades have been installed in many areas across the system in order to decrease electricity usage.
  • Water usage is reduced by 25,000,000 gallons each year through the recycling of condensation produced by air conditioning.
  • Green roofs are located at Geisinger Gray’s Woods in State College, Geisinger Mt. Pleasant in Scranton, as well as the Henry Hood Center for Health Research and the Hospital for Advanced Medicine in Danville. Green roofs absorb rainwater, provide thermal insulation, act as a sound barrier and improve air quality. They also support stress reduction by providing visual contact with natural greenery.
  • The durable modular furnishings used in most of Geisinger’s offices are able to be reconfigured and reused, saving time and materials.
  • When building or renovating spaces, Geisinger seeks furnishings, flooring and ceiling products that are low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs), with recycled content and eligible for manufacturer recycling programs.

Recycling and landfill diversion initiatives

  • Alkaline battery recycling: Since 2012, over 9.8 tons of batteries have been diverted from landfills. Other types of batteries are also recycled system wide.
  • Computers/electronic devices: Devices taken out of service are recycled or donated. Across the system, an average of 5000 items are processed annually through this program.
  • Eyeglass recycling: Used eyeglasses are collected in Danville, Hazleton, Lewisburg, Mt. Pocono and Wilkes-Barre. They are sent to charitable organizations to be recycled and given to people in need in developing countries.
  • Corrugated cardboard: A robust, system-wide recycling program is in place at most Geisinger locations.  In 2015, in Danville alone, 564 tons of cardboard was recycled.
  • Office paper recycling: Through our system-wide confidential document management program, over 685 tons of office paper was shredded and recycled in 2015. Since 2013, Community Shred Day events have been held at various locations across the system in recognition of Earth Day. In 2015, more than 1400 members of the community took advantage of these events with over 28 tons of paper collected, shredded, and recycled.
  • Toner/ink cartridges: Since 2014, over 14,600 cartridges weighing in at 25.6 tons have been recycled.
  • Writing instrument recycling: A program to recycle pens, mechanical pencils, markers, and highlighters yields funds to support the Children’s Miracle Network.
  • Fleet vehicle oil: Oil from Geisinger fleet vehicles is used to heat the automotive shop in Danville, with any excess oil being recycled.
  • Bottle-filling stations: In an effort to reduce the number of plastic beverage bottles needing disposal, many bottle-filling stations have been installed across the system with more stations being planned. Bottle filling stations are available to employees, patients, and visitors.
  • Sterilization (blue) wrap: Geisinger currently recycles the clean blue wrap, a plastic material commonly used in the sterilization process of devices used in operating rooms, at five facilities. In 2015, 13 tons of blue wrap was kept out of landfills and plans are under way to expand the initiative to more facilities.
  • Medical device recycling: Many items such as “single use” surgical devices, pulse oximeters (sensors) and compression sleeves (SCD sleeves) are collected to be reprocessed or recycled.
  • Other recycling: Programs to recycle light bulbs, aluminum, steel, plastic, magazines and newspapers are in place and increasing all over the system. In just one year in Danville, steel collected mainly from foodservice operations amounted to 20.8 tons diverted from landfills.

Medical equipment recovery
Established in 2007, Geisinger’s Medical Equipment Recovery program is a centralized inventory system that helps identify unused equipment and then evaluate whether it can be:

  • Used by another department,
  • Repaired and reused,
  • Repurposed or remarketed,
  • Harvested for parts, or
  • Recycled.

The program has saved Geisinger in excess of $7 million since its inception, allowing more funds to be directed toward patient care.

Environmental awards

  • 2016 Energy to Care Award
    The American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) of the American Hospital Association (AHA) recognized Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton for becoming a more energy-efficient facility and utilizing saved resources to support patient care.

  • 2016 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence
    This award recognized the installation of 144 solar panels on the roof of the Janet Weis Children’s Hospital as a source of efficient and completely non-polluting energy. Learn more and watch a video here. 

  • 2015 Making Medicine Mercury Free Award
    Practice Greenhealth recognized the effort to eliminate mercury in all aspects of patient care and operations at Geisinger Medical Center.

  • 2000 Businesses for the Bay Award for Large Business
    The Chesapeake Bay Foundation recognized Geisinger for work done to improve water quality and the health of the Chesapeake Bay.