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EPA lauds WCHS

April 25, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

Washington County Health System Inc. is a star. At least, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency thinks so.

Recently, the hospital and a number of companies in the mid-Atlantic region qualified as EPA outstanding Energy Star partners.

WCHS, which includes Washington County Hospital, Antietam Health Services and Robinwood Medical Center, was recognized as meeting the EPA's Earth Day Challenge.

Ray Grahe, hospital vice president, said the hospital staff has been working six or seven months to save energy according to EPA recommendations.

For example, Grahe said, all lights and light ballasts are being changed to models that produce less heat.

That translates into reduced costs of air conditioning, Grahe said.

"We are also changing a lot of windows to more energy-efficient types," Grahe said. That will help with both heating and ventilation.

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Starting in November 1998, more than 3,000 Energy Star building participants have reduced their energy use by 22.4 billion kilowatt hours and prevented the emissions of 35.5 billion pounds of carbon dioxide nationally, according to EPA figures.

A total of 506 participants in the mid-Atlantic region have saved $32 million a year in energy costs, the figures state.

The yearly elimination of 768 million pounds of carbon dioxide, 8.5 million pounds of sulfur dioxide and 92.7 million pounds of nitrogen oxides has the same environmental benefit of planting 100,000 trees and removing 75,000 cars from the highways for the next 10 years, according to the EPA.

The other winning Energy Star partners in the mid-Atlantic region were Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh; Boscov Department Store, Reading, Pa.; Allegheny University Hospitals, Philadelphia; SMG, Philadelphia; Engineered Services Inc., Chantilly, Va.; Mary Washington Hospital, Fredericksburg, Va.; and Washington Hospital Center, in Washington, D.C.

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