FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Brooke Army Medical Center's Logistics Division team has taken the lead on keeping BAMC green by developing new ways of conserving energy and reducing harmful environmental wastes throughout the hospital.

The logistics team provides patient-focused health and wellness services.

"The improvements we've seen so far have been a result of individual and small-group efforts in the Facilities and Logistics areas," said Chief Engineer Kevin Nikodym.

Because of their efforts, BAMC was awarded the Practice GreenHealth Partner Recognition Award May 12 at the 2010 CleanMed Conference in Baltimore, Md.

Nikodym, who accepted the award on behalf of BAMC, said this award means that we're heading in the right direction with respect to making changes that show we are sensitive to the importance of protecting the environment.

Current environmental improvements are: recycling, environmental-friendly cleaning, energy savings, water savings and carpet recycling, which saved the hospital a significant amount of money and resources.

Nikodym said although the changes we've made are important, they represent just a fraction of what is possible.

"Our ultimate goal is to engage our entire staff to get everyone using our recycling programs and thinking of improvements they can make in their respective areas," he said.

Looking back, the chief engineer said it was hard to say how long it's taken BAMC to get to where we are now.

"We've been using recycled water in our cooling towers, before I came to BAMC seven years ago," he said. "We replaced our tube heat exchangers with plate heat exchangers about three years ago. Two years ago, we installed a vial crusher to reduce waste and this year we started placing containers in the hallways for plastic, aluminum and glass recycling.

"Our short-term future goals include improving our efforts to recycle bottles and cans (we do these now, but can improve) and to expand our recycling program to include battery and plastic wrap recycling," Nikodym said.

Meanwhile, the team is planning for future modifications to increase energy efficiency, such as installing a thermal storage tank that will allow the hospital to create chill water for the hospital's cooling systems during non-peak hours; a lighting retrofit that will use more energy efficient lighting; and improvements to our steam traps and cooling tower motors to cut down on wasted energy.

The award is given within the health care sector to institutions for outstanding programs to reduce the facility's environmental footprint. A total of 274 awards were presented in eight categories to 245 facilities.

Though a partnership with Trees for the Future, each award recipient will have 100 trees planted in their honor in Haiti.