For MEDITECH, It's Easy Being Green
Executives explain how making responsible choices to conserve energy and resources also makes good business sense for the I.T. vendor.
MEDITECH's logo has long associated our corporate identity with the color green, but in recent years, we've taken our commitment well beyond the limits of the color wheel. By actively pursuing "green" initiatives, MEDITECH is conducting its business practices with an eye toward conservation and preserving the environment for future generations. And according to Tony Polimeno, director of operations, going eco-friendly isn't just beneficial for the planet, it's proven to be cost-efficient for industry as well.
"Going green is the socially responsible thing to do, but it is also the fiscally responsible thing to do," says Polimeno. "Saving energy leads to saving money, so it's really a win-win for us. We can feel good about reducing waste, at the same time we're improving our bottom line."
Building a Foundation for Energy Efficiency
Polimeno recalls how MEDITECH's Framingham office became MEDITECH's test facility for energy efficiency, back in 2004. "We replaced the motors on the air conditioning and heating systems with high efficiency 'smart' motors, and we updated the lighting using compact flourescents to help reduce energy costs," he says.
"It took just two years for us to recoup our initial investment, and we were able to reduce energy consumption in the building by 30%. It was a tremendous success."
Since then, MEDITECH has also updated the energy efficiency of its other facilities, most of which were originally built in the 1970s, 80s, and early 90s. "We recently replaced the outdated natural gas boilers in our Westwood building with new, technologically-advanced 2010 models. We've already been able to reduce our energy consumption by 20%," says Polimeno.
"Furthermore, we've reduced our electrical usage company-wide by 11%, and gas usage by 13%. And the energy we do use, we purchase wholesale for a bit extra, in order for a portion of it to be renewable. Every little bit helps."
As you might imagine, MEDITECH's newest building--Southcoast--is also its most energy-efficient. "Today's new construction follows stricter environmental codes than that of decades past," explains MEDITECH Project Manager Sheila Lemke, who also participated in the design of Southcoast with Payette Architects in Boston. "When we were planning for Southcoast, a big part of our strategy involved taking the concepts we learned from updating the other buildings, and integrating them into this new, 21st century design.
Our beautiful curved, glass exterior wall, although facing South, has highly insulated glass and an automated window covering system and a large roof overhang, so that all workstations enjoy an amazing view of the South Wattupa Pond while still reducing our energy need for mechanical heating and lighting.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
But not all of MEDITECH's green efforts involve new innovations: products containing recycled material can be found throughout all of the buildings, including items such as furniture, carpet, fabrics, and our printing paper. Today's e-mail and scanning technologies have also played a crucial role in reducing paper consumption.
"We reduced the number of printers throughout the work areas many years back, to discourage employees from running unnecessary print jobs," says Lemke. "We also make certain that company trash is sorted on a regular basis, so cans and paper can be recycled, rather than thrown away."
MEDITECH leaders have also been working to make the outside of the buildings just as green as what goes on inside. "In order to avoid unnecessary tree removal, we feed the trees on our properties to help encourage longer lifespans. Also, all the fertilizers we use are organic, so we're not allowing harmful chemicals to seep into the earth," says Polimeno.
One of the most popular green initiatives among MEDITECH employees is the company's telecommuting option, which allows most staff to work from home for one to two days per week. "We've also given our employees the option of working at the MEDITECH building closest to their homes, to help reduce gas consumption and emissions due to long commutes," he says. "It's just another example of how being green often brings unexpected benefits to those who practice it."
Giving the Green Light to Future Improvements
MEDITECH has even garnered public attention for its environmental awareness--including an invitation from Johnson and Wales University to speak with students at their annual Green Initiatives seminar.
"This event was a great opportunity for us to share how our green efforts have strengthened us as a company," says Lemke. "We wanted the students to understand that even once they enter the working world, they can still make environmental activism a priority in their day-to-day lives."
Polimeno agrees, adding that he expects MEDITECH to make even more improvements in the near future, such as adding LED lights to all of the buildings.
"It's easy to justify the extra effort, when we know the benefits of these choices will far outweigh the costs," he says. "That's why it's important for MEDITECH to be as forward-thinking with our green efforts, as we are with our I.T. products. It's not just a color anymore."
Medical Information Technology, Inc.
Westwood, MA 02090