Ross nursing home wins environmental, biking honors

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Employees at Allegheny County's nursing home in Ross earned double honors today for their environmental efforts.

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced that the facility, known formally as the John J. Kane Regional Center, won the county's first Green Building Competition for energy-saving efforts and is the first government building to receive "Bike Friendly Employer" certification from Bike Pittsburgh.

The goals of the five-month green-building contest were to reduce electricity and water usage and to promote sustainable thinking and actions among workers. Teams from the nursing home in Ross, the County Jail, County Office Building and Shuman Juvenile Detention Center earned points in categories that included energy conservation, alternative transportation, recycling and waste reduction, water conservation, and green purchasing.

The Kane center in Ross won the challenge by achieving the highest point total for its sustainable actions. They include cutting its average monthly electricity usage by 8.6 percent and its average monthly water usage by 15.4 percent. Employees at the five facilities saved an overall $119,177 in electricity and water costs by reducing consumption, Mr. Fitzgerald said.

The estimated cost savings were $54,863 for the County Jail, $35,749 for the County Office Building, $14,841 for the Kane Center and $13,724 for the Shuman Center.

The county competition was inspired by Sustainable Pittsburgh's Green Workplace Challenge for Southwestern Pennsylvania businesses. The Kane nursing home achieved the highest point total of any participating organization.

"This is a case where government outperformed private business," Mr. Fitzgerald said. "These are impressive reductions in energy and water use."

Workers at the Ross nursing home had held a special information event on commuting options, including car-pooling and biking. In response to staff interest, the county installed a bike rack, improved employee showers and changing rooms and established a cycling information area.

Mr. Fitzgerald told workers that their efforts resulted in their facility becoming the first government building to receive "Bike Friendly Employer" certification.

The Kane-Ross team leader was Brian Pinter, working with Sue Crump, Vertie Teese, Brian Parker, Donna Hanam and Martin Rogers. Mr. Fitzgerald also thanked Dennis Biondo, the the Kane Centers executive director, and Kevin Mulroy, administrator of the Ross nursing home.

As a reward, all employees at Kane-Ross will receive free admission to Kennywood, courtesy of the competition's sponsors, Green Nurture.com, Continental Power Corp., Duquesne Light Energy, Noresco and AECOM, an engineering, management and design company.

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Len Barcousky: lbarcousky@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1159.


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