In a twist on the old saying “one man’s trash is another one’s treasure” the UVM Medical Center has become one of the first partners in Vermont Gas’ Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) Program which is currently sourcing methane from a landfill in Quebec. The hospital has committed to purchasing renewable attributes at a rate of 50% of its regular usage at a number of doctor’s offices and other locations, jumping to 100% RNG usage in 2019.
By joining this program, the UVM Medical Center is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 1170 metric tons over the next 12 months —equivalent to removing 251 cars from the road for a year.
Renewable natural gas is created from the methane produced when organic materials like food waste or manure decompose. Using this locally-sourced alternative to fossil fuels allows the UVM Medical Center to reduce its carbon footprint and continue on its mission to be a leader in sustainable health care.
Reducing environmental impact with renewable natural gas
“When you grow up in Vermont, you can’t help but have the environment in mind with everything you do,” says Ashley Bond, Manager of Property and Real Estate Services at the UVM Medical Center. “This makes sense personally, as well as from an organizational perspective. Teaming up with our local natural gas partner, Vermont Gas, was a natural choice because we have the peace of mind of energy reliability.”
Several UVM Medical Center offices and properties are currently enrolled in the Vermont Gas Renewable Natural Gas program, including:
- Health Centers at Blair Park, Williston
- Dialysis, South Burlington
- Family Medicine, Milton
- Adult & Family Medicine at Timber Lane, South Burlington
- Family Medicine, Hinesburg
- Distribution Center, Storage and Medical Records at Holly Court, Williston
While the program currently sources RNG from the Quebec landfill, Vermont Gas plans to add new local sources – including a farm digester in Salisbury, Vermont, as well as a new RNG plant in Canada. Farm digesters that break down manure and food scraps offer the added environmental benefit of reducing phosphorous runoff into Vermont’s streams, rivers and lakes.
Supporting renewable energy production
Vermont Gas’ Renewable Natural Gas Program began in in April 2018, when the company became the first natural gas utility in the US with a retail RNG offering.
The program enables customers to purchase renewable attributes of RNG for a portion or all of their natural gas usage. The gas is comingled in the system, and customers can pay to support renewable natural gas production in a similar manner to renewable electricity.
“Vermont Gas is excited to partner with UVM Medical Center to help the organization reduce its environmental impact through this innovative new program,” said Tom Murray, Vice President of Customers and Communities at Vermont Gas. “Together, we are making Vermont a healthier place.”