April, 2010

Mercy Hospital Signs Contract to Purchase Clean Energy
Reduction in Carbon Dioxide Equivalent to Taking 1000 Cars off Road

(Chicago, IL) Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, one of Chicago’s leading not-for-profit hospitals, has taken a major step towards reducing its carbon footprint by committing to purchasing 10 percent of its electricity over the next three years in the form of clean power. The purchase will enable the hospital to avoid indirect greenhouse gas emissions of just over 5,500 metric tons of CO2, which is equivalent to taking 1000 automobiles off the road.

“Mercy is taking great strides to reduce the impact our operations have on our environment,” stated Sister Sheila Lyne, RSM, President and CEO of Mercy Hospital and Medical Center. “Purchasing clean energy is one of the most important steps we can take to improve our facility’s environmental footprint and contribute to the health and well being of the people of Illinois.”

The purchase was made through the Practice Greenhealth Health Care Clean Energy Exchange (HCEE) using World Energy Solution Inc,’s online auction platform, the World Energy Exchange®. This “reverse auction” process allows energy suppliers to place competitive bids on hospital energy contracts. Working with World Energy, HCEE helped Mercy develop and issue a number of RFPs in which the electric commodity price, length of contract and percent of clean power was varied. Energy providers responded to the RFPs with their best prices, and were able to view all bids in real time so that they could rebid at lower prices. Savings generated on traditional energy through the competitive bid process created the financial space to include clean energy, which is often slightly higher in cost. Illinois is one of 13 states able to purchase energy in this way.

“The Practice Greenhealth HCEE auction process allowed our facility to purchase clean energy and resulted in significant cost savings for the hospital,” stated Richard Cerceo, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center. “Having used Practice Greenhealth’s Health Care Clean Energy Exchange and working through World Energy’s auction process, we are convinced this is the best method to secure competitive pricing and the ability to displace fossil fuel generated electricity in the energy market.”

“While locking into stable pricing and obtaining competitive bids is important to the HCEE program, even more important is that allows hospital facilities the opportunity to include clean energy as part of the overall energy portfolio,” stated Nicholas DeDominincis, Executive Vice President and Director of Energy Strategies, Practice Greenhealth. “Burning fossil fuels to generate electricity for the health care sector generates almost 6 trillion tons of CO2 annually, so if all hospitals reduced these indirect greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent, we would have a considerable reduction in pollutants in the atmosphere.”

“We congratulate Mercy on their pioneering program to help Chicago’s hospitals become more environmentally sustainable,” stated Suzanne Malec-McKenna, Commissioner, Department of Environment, City of Chicago. “The City and partners are spearheading the Chicago Green Healthcare Initiative that is focusing on leveraging financial and technical resources to save energy and money for these critical Chicago facilities.”

About Mercy Hospital
As Chicago’s first teaching hospital, Mercy Hospital has been caring for Chicago for more than 157 years. Committed to excellence and providing the best in quality health care, patients find world-class medicine with compassion, convenience and an undeniable spirit that sets it apart from other hospitals. Home to one of the Nation’s leading Heart & Vascular Centers, Mercy Hospital was recently named one of the Nation’s 100 Top Hospitals® for cardiovascular care by Thompson Healthcare and designated a Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac Care® by Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Also home to a certified Stroke Center, new Cancer Center, Comprehensive Breast & Women’s Health Care Center, and a state-of-the-art Emergency Center that includes the Higginbottom Urgent Care for Kids Unit, Mercy provides a comprehensive approach to health care for the entire family. Mercy’s ideal location, just minutes south of the loop, is easily accessible by all main arteries. And at Mercy, patients and visitors will find convenient, free parking.

Mary Kate Brosnan
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Note: Designation as Blue Distinction Centers® means these facilities' overall experience and aggregate data met objective criteria established in collaboration with expert clinicians' and leading professional organizations' recommendations. Individual outcomes may vary. To find out which services are covered under your policy at any facilities, please call your local Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield Plan.