Talkin' Trash With UHN

Freerange, organic, green healthcare ideas

Golden Light Switch


In our quest to save energy, we’ve come up with a (very serious) way to recognize groups around UHN that have done their part to GIVE A FLICK. This coveted award is the GOLDEN LIGHT SWITCH. Behold it in all its beauty….

Why do we care so much? Turning off lights and cutting back on excess electricity consumption reduces air pollution and prevents climate change. The OMA says air pollution in Ontario leads to 17,000 hospital admissions and 60,000 emergency room visits each year. So next time you’re last out of a room, turn off the lights to protect the environment AND save lives.

Who’s done what it takes to get this most esteemed award, and the 5 minutes of hi-fiving that goes with it?!

  1. Department of Pathology
  2. Radiation Medicine Program
  3. Krembil Discovery Tower
  4. Respiratory Therapy
  5. Inpatient Psychiatry
  6. Rumsey Neuro
  7. Emergency Preparedness and Fire & Life Safety
  8. Family Health Team

1. Department of Pathology – TGH

Department of Pathology

In 2008 the brave people of Pathology agreed to be part of our new energy management program called Operation TLC – a UHN wide effort to change the culture from “lights on” to “lights off”. 6 months after that they saved 10% of their excess energy and saved $2500 in utilities.  Today we have seen the difference that energy experts like Ana Baptista and Dr. Rasmus Kiehl can make to change a department.  Thank you Pathology you are working together to consistently save excess energy bringing us closer to our goal to reduce energy consumption UHN wide by $2.35 million this year.

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2. Radiation Medicine Program – PMH

Radiation Medicine Program

Braaaaaaaaaaaavo! Radiation Medicine Program at Princess Margaret you are doing your part and then some to make sure UHN is a “lights off” kind of place.  You have been with me on the TLC journey since the very beginning and have always found ways to do more and do better.  Off the hop you were able to save 30% of your excess electricity use and you are well on your way to 40%.  A humble Energy Expert might come to one of your team and say; Lue-Ann, Fatima, Veng, Susan, Kim, Pat, Biu, Sarin, Fe, Andrea, Allan, Bern, Graham, Marco, Tim, James, Alex, Colleen, Grace, Heather, Kitty, Laxmi, Lily, Patricia, Renata, Sherrill, or Vickay; “how do you do it?” And someone from the team will answer.

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3. Krembil Discovery Tower
OK, this is a little untraditional because it’s a building and not a people, but it definitely deserves the Golden Light Switch for all its LEEDing edge amazingness! Please high-five it on your way in.

LEED info for KDT
Click above for the full enchilada

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4. Respiratory Therapy – TWH
Since the Golden Light Switch tour started in 2013 we have seen amazing contributions to Energy Conservation at UHN from the efforts of our talented staff volunteers – Energy Experts.  Most recently Hilary Bayliss and Katrina Scholtissek at Toronto Western Hospital, Respiratory Therapy have made a monumental contribution.  They have taken note of excess electricity and done something about it.  Not the least of which was getting a light switch installed in a room that had  had lights on for the last 25 years.  More years then my interns have been old.  Congratulations Respiratory Therapy – you are breathing life into TLC, making energy conservation normal and easy to do.  You, more then any others know that every breath counts. Taking a second to see the excess and then one more second to do something about it is what it is all about.

The Golden Light Switch is proudly making her new home on a respirator for the next few months.

TWH RT - no people
Respiratory Therapy

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5. Inpatient Psychiatry – TGH

Toni -crop
Inpatient Psychiatry

It was such a thrill to honour Inpatient Psychiatry with the Golden Light Switch. This group has been committed topatient and planet centred care for a long time. Doing their part for energy conservation is only one way they have demonstrated their commitment.  Special thanks to the whole team for all their efforts managing their compost program, safe disposal of medications, recycling and staff engagement are just some of the initiatives that they have tackled successfully since 2011.  This group is always on the look out for ways to make things better for the environment day-to-day.  Including reducing staff use of disposable coffee cups, phasing out Styrofoam for patients and asking questions about common practices that could reduce waste and save energy!  Applause please.  Toni Purdy, accepted the award on behalf of the team.

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6. Rumsey Neuro -TRI-RC 
Our most recent recipients of the Golden Light Switch are gold and proud at Rumsey Neuro.  Their fearless Energy Experts Raghad Zaiyouna (seen below with the coveted trophy), Lesley Ruttan, and Cara Kircher made a difference and it took…wait for it…a year…no…6 months…no…3 WEEKS.  That is all it takes to move from a “leave it on” kinda place to a “turn it off” kinda place.  Picture it January 17th 2014, 35% of computers are shut off overnight in the clinic.  Then the popular and fun TLC program comes on board and by February 7th 2014, 92% of computers are turned off over night.  Amazing but true!

Rumsey Neuro

Staff are proud of their accomplishments as they should be.  Here is the team participating in the customary high 5 ceremony.

Rumsey Neuro team
Rumsey Neuro High-5 for 5

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7. Emergency Preparedness and Fire & Life Safety

What is better than 1 Energy Expert? Two Energy Experts. That’s what they have over there in a little corner of Gerrard wing.  Perry Ross and Celeste Merey have been working together across their departments to make sure everyone can turn off as much as possible.  It was a pleasure to honour them with the Golden Light Switch for their creative ideas, ongoing friendly reminders to their co-workers and general stick-to-it-ness that is the hallmark of Energy Experts across UHN.

Celeste and Perry

Of course credit goes to the whole team too. There are so many good reasons to turn off lights in empty rooms thanks for finding your reason. Congratulations Emergency Preparedness and Fire & Life Safety you are awesome!

EP and Fire group

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8. Family Health Team

Just when you thought nothing more could be done Energy Expert Gillian at the Toronto Western Family Health Team decides to try harder.  She takes extra time during her day to look around and see which lights can be turned off.  She talks about it with her team and together they are working toward lights off when not in use. It is tricky to do in a busy clinic environment.  But it is also possible.  Thanks Gillian and the whole team!


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