#1 in MUSH!

We’ve often joked about acronym bingo, what with all the BRBs, IMOs and OMGs, but have you heard of MUSH? Not the bowl full in Goodnight Moon, but Municipalities, Universities, Schools and Hospitals … that MUSH.

Turns out this is a pretty important category when it comes to energy, since we are large and use a lot. So if and when we do things to use less, it really counts across Toronto, Ontario, Canada and the world.

With that, the Energy Into Action Innovation Awards recognize these good deeds (and great projects like this, this, this, this and this). We are extremely proud to announce that UHN won #1 in the large MUSH category (technically, tied for #1 with the City of Mississauga, but who’s counting?).

2018-EnergyAward-Lisa and Mike

Mike and I clutch the shiny new award from Energy Into Action. Thanks so much to Jana for nominating us. (L-R) Natalie McLauchlin (Alectra), Lisa Vanlint (UHN), Mike Kurz (UHN), Jana Jedlovska (Toronto Hydro), Michael Marchant (Toronto Hydro).

2018 award

ready for a close up

This wasn’t just an awards presentation, it was an opportunity to learn, mix and mingle with all people and things energy conserving. As it took place the day before Halloween, there were plenty of costumes and candy.


Rockin’ the Lobster look

If you missed it, we got your back. You can find all of the presentations online. I particularly liked Paul Leitch’s take on energy efficiency amid changing government policy, showcasing the great GHG-busting work at University of Toronto.

Another favorite was Cara Clairman’s presentation on electric vehicle charging in condos and workplaces (EV, for more acronym bingo). We know that the switch from gas guzzlers to electric cars has already begun, though it could pick up the pace a little. Expanding charging stations takes care of a major barrier … range anxiety.

The other bigger barrier is knowledge. People don’t always get that the EV’s fewer moving parts means way less maintenance costs. Between that and saving on gas, that’s about 2K/year. Pretty good, even without government incentives. And if you want to drive without Global Warming Guilt (GWG) or Green House Gas Guilt (GHGG), EV’s are it. You can test drive them at Plug n Drive.

pic-moving parts

EV’s fewer moving parts means way less maintenance costs. Between maintenance and gas savings, that 2 K less/year.

My son is 4 years from getting a learner’s permit. I hope by that time, EVs will overtake gas engines. That will make me breathe easier, though teaching him to drive will not :).



Links to some of the reasons why



Better than Candy, Operation Green’s Supplies Haul

Before we get going, a final shout for the Interhospital Waste Reduction Week Challenge. It’s neck-in-neck. If you work at UHN, Sinai, SickKids or Sunnybrook, give it a whirl before midnight on Friday, Nov 2. Play-Now-Button-Transparent-PNG

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program…

On the day after Halloween, most of us have had plenty of “fun-size” treats. What’s better than going door-to-door for candy? How about going unit-to-unit, collecting medical supplies to donate to communities in need? That’s what our fantastic team from Operation Green does every month.

Nicole and Meghan, the new Operation Green Leads, are both medical students who volunteer from their already packed schedules to coordinate and collect supplies. This year, they worked with our friends from UHN Volunteer Resources and Transportation Department to get the largest haul yet! Over 50 boxes of still good supplies will stay out of landfill and go around the world to where they are really needed.

Nicole and Meghan also signed up several more departments onto their monthly collection schedule. If you work at UHN and want to start your own collection box in your unit, contact operationgreen@uhn.ca. They can help you set up a box and tell you what’s needed (or scroll down to see the wish list).

Next collection dates: 

  • November 27th 2018
  • December 18th 2018
  • January 29th 2019
  • February 26th 2019
  • March 26th 2019
  • April 30th 2019
  • May 28th 2019

Here’s an idea of what they might need:


All 50 boxes have gone to Not Just Tourists, a great group that sends a suitcase of medical supplies with travelers already headed to these locations. By carrying an extra suitcase, these travelers become helpers, not just tourists (thus the name 🙂 ). You can help them pack bags, donate a suitcase, or volunteer to take a suitcase with you next time you travel. I’ve heard their packing parties are legendary!

Now isn’t that better than candy?

Roses are Red, Polypropylene Sterilization Wrap is Blue

Roses are Red, Polypropylene Sterilization Wrap is Blue

Remember your 3 R’s from school? No, not Readin’, Ritin’ and Rithmatic :).

If you’ve been around the blog, you know that Reducin’, Reusin’ and Recyclin’ are listed in order of importance, with much bigger bangs for reduce and reuse. With that, I have a great story to share from our friends at the Radiation Therapy Green Team.

P.S. Stay tuned for next week’s interhospital competition for Waste Reduction Week.

the following excerpt is by Veng Chhin on the Therapost

This year the Waste Reduction Week is Oct. 15-21, 2018.

Waste Reduction and Recycling Weeks in Canada started in the mid-1980s with a focus on the environment and sustainability.  This principle can be practiced all year round!

Brachy and Gamma Knife teams are already practicing waste reduction on a daily basis.  Every day they are saving the blue sterilization wraps for recycling and repurposing.  The wraps are clean and have not come into contact with any contaminants.  They are made up of linen fiber and polypropylene materials and are very durable for repurposing.  For example, arts & crafts, drop sheets for painting, car seat covers for pets, can be sewn into multi-purpose bags, etc…

blue wrap bag

blue wrap makes for a great reusable bag!

This means less waste going into landfills, helping to keep our world cleaner, and improving sustainability. It’s a win-win!  If you want to give it a try, you are welcome to these wraps, which are saved in a cabinet located in Cobalt Lounge near the central recycling area.

blue wrap-patricia

Patricia demonstrates the many fashionable uses for blue wrap

Read the original story by Veng Chhin on the Therapost


Can We Talk?

Can We Talk?

On this sweltering September day, with Florence and Mangkhut lashing their paths of destruction, I can’t help but think about the hot and steamy elephant in the room … climate change. The scary thing we all talked about “in the future” is here, clearly. There are so many ways I could do something about it, but sometimes I don’t know where to start.

I am not alone, and as luck would have it, neither are you.

We are incredibly psyched and proud to bring Carbon Conversations TO to UHN!


What’s it all about? Taking Climate Action this Fall

If you feel overwhelmed, stressed and unable to take action when you think about climate change, Carbon Conversations TO gets it. They are here to help.

We have asked Carbon Conversations TO to host a weekly series of 2 hour conversations, 6 sessions in total. This will give us the tools, support and motivation so we can take action in our own way. Even better, they’ll do taster sessions so we can sample it before committing to 6 weeks. light refreshments to be served. 

Get a taste of what we’re all about. Join our interactive information session.

Pick either time that works for you…

  1. (new!) Thurs, Sep 27: 4:30 – 6 pm, Toronto General Hospital, Wellness Centre 1NU168
  2. Thurs, Sep 27: 6 – 7:30 pm, Toronto General Hospital, Wellness Centre 1NU168


Interested in joining the Fall series? (I know I am). The sessions will run Thursday evenings, October 25  – Nov 29, 4:30 – 6:30 PM, Wellness Centre at TGH. Though the taster sessions are free, the 6-week program costs a nominal fee of $60. The small fee ($10/session) will not only cover costs, it helps ensure people attend :).

Light refreshments to be served

Can’t wait to chat with you soon!

carbon - group.jpg


carbon - logo

Questions? Reach out to the Carbon Conversations TO team.



Can U Dig it?

In the lush and earthy corners of UHN, we find some spectacular gardens.

Let’s start in the west with GROW at Bickle Centre, aka, Garden Rehab on Wheels, or Garden of Eatin’. Thanks so much to Amanda Beales for leading this team through it’s 3rd fantastic season. Each year, it expands and improves.


Staff Salad Potluck 2018

This season, the team built a second in-ground patch for plants too big for the boxes. They grew a watermelon  … a huge hit with the patient garden group … and are growing some pumpkins (carving contest tba)! A patient’s family member walked by all the burgeoning veggies the other day and commented “this is better than Longos”.

Patients at Bickle Centre tend to the garden as part of their therapy. According to one patient, “I love being part of the garden group. I get to get outside, see plants, and taste some fresh vegetables…. What more could I want?”. Another noted honestly that “It helps fight the boredom” (I hear you). One +80 year old patient remarked with deep surprise:

“I never knew that’s how that grew!”.



This year, the GROW team decided to get creative and tried growing a cucamelon. No, I’ve never heard of that either, but apparently it’s the size of a grape, looks like a watermelon, and tastes like a cucumber!!

We’ll travel east to get the The UHN Real Food Garden, right near Toronto Western Hospital. Here, Sophia, Jim, Geremy, Rachel and Elise have been sowing and growing as a mini but mighty team. Jim reported that after he cut through the jungle of weeds, “there are some nice tomatoes and basil plants under there … for a nice sandwich on Portuguese buns for one of the Dundas St. bakeries.”garden-1

Now we’ll travel northeast to get to Lyndhurst, where they have had a raised-bed garden for many years. Their focus in more on flowers and herbs over food, but these gorgeous marigolds look good enough to eat! Note the special long-handled tools perfect for using from a wheelchair!garden-lyndhurst 2018

Thanks Nicole Leung, recreation therapist for bringing her patients outside for the best kind of therapy (IMHO) and for sending these beautiful and lucious photos from Lyndhurst…

If this is your jam (or jelly), you may be interested in 2 events by our friends at NOURISH, both on Monday September 10th:

  1. Connecting Food & Health Care: Lessons From Canada, US & Denmark: 12 – 1:30 pm, LKSKI-SMH, 209 Victoria St. room 211
  2. Food on the Public Plate: Lessons from Canada, US & Denmark: 4:30-6:30 pm, MaRS 101 College St. room CR2



It’s easy and free registration (and they had me at “light refreshments will be served”).

For more about Gardens at UHN, see









The “Mug-nificent” DMOH Green Squad!

DMOH Green Squad L – R : Theresa Moonsammy; Katty MacLean; Nancy Vukovic; Jennifer Ryan; Erin Grissman; Helen Borowski; James Austin (Manager DMOH)

Not to worry our friends in Infection Prevention and Control, but Continue reading

Deeply Cool

Deeply Cool

During these dog days of summer, it’s more important than ever to stay cool. If you’ve followed this blog, you know air conditioning is one of the most energy-intense parts of a building, with lighting paling (dimming?) by comparison. Continue reading