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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Wins Three Environmental Awards including the Top Award, the Mayor's Environmental Leadership Award

SEATTLE — May 19, 2004 — Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has won three prestigious local awards for its unique and creative approaches to environmental sustainability. The BEST (Businesses for an Environmentally Sustainable Tomorrow) Awards, sponsored by Resource Venture, a program of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, and other local partner organizations. The awards were presented May 13 at the 3rd Annual BEST Awards Ceremony at Bell Harbor International Conference Center.

The center won the program's highest honor, the Mayor's Environmental Leadership Award, as well as awards for energy conservation and innovation in conservation.

The BEST Awards celebrate notable "green" achievements by organizations in the greater Seattle area. Other sponsoring organizations include the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle City Light and local water providers in the Saving Water Partnership, a group of local utilities that fund water conservation programs in Seattle and King County.

This year's ceremony, which honored 11 organizations, was held as part of the Mayor's Forum on Sustainable Strategies for Business Success. Fred Hutchinson's Scott Rusch, vice president of facilities and operations, and Dr. Mark Groudine, director of the Basic Sciences Division, accepted the awards on behalf of the center.

"We are extremely pleased and proud to have received BEST Awards in three categories," Rusch said. "Our team has worked very hard over the past couple of years to implement measures and changes to reduce the center's energy needs. These awards recognize the extent to which our team has gone, in order to be innovative in our approach to develop and operate our campus in a responsible, cost-effective and sustainable manner."

"The center's buildings have been equipped with cutting-edge systems and features that have led to a substantial reduction in operating costs," Rusch said. "Our recycling program has grown and improved tremendously and its success is the result of individuals and departments across the center including Facilities Engineering, Environmental Health and Safety, Glasswash, Materiel Management and Information Technology. These awards show that, through these efforts, we are leading the community in our approach to operate our campus in a sustainable manner."

Bob Cowan, Fred Hutchinson's facilities engineering manager, noted that the center's conservation efforts also support the center's mission.

"While last year we spent more than $2 million on electricity cost and more than $500,000 on fuel cost, we also saved $1.5 million in annual energy costs," he said. "This savings allows that much more cancer research to be done."

Notable achievements recognized by the award sponsors:

  • Fourteen conservation projects save the center 2.1 million kilowatt hours (kWh) and $128,000 per year. The projects include occupancy sensors, high-efficiency chillers and L.E.D. exit signs.

  • In the last two years, Fred Hutchinson engineers identified and implemented eleven retrofit projects. Projects such as heat recovery from washers and lighting upgrades save an additional 437,000 kWh and $119,000 per year.

  • Thirteen modifications to equipment operations — such as off-hour lighting and fan shutoffs — have generated nearly 1 million kWh and $70,000 in annual savings.

  • Fred Hutchinson employs highly competent operating engineers, conducts high-quality maintenance on its equipment, supports ongoing recommissioning efforts for existing high-energy use areas and equipment, and is attentive to environmental sustainability in the commission of all new facilities.

  • To ensure that faculty and staff understand and maximize energy conservation features, the center has educated employees through building orientations, management briefings, newsletter articles, campus-wide e-mails and large poster boards in the main lobby. Center staff speak at regional and national energy conferences.

  • To control laboratory temperature and air-exchange rate more efficiently, these operations are tied to the lighting circuit. This approach ensures the required air changes and temperature controls take place when the labs are occupied. When the lights go off, the room temperature decreases and the air change rate is reduced by 33 percent.

  • The new Public Health Sciences building employs strategies to minimize interior lighting by harvesting daylight and using day-lighting controls as well as automatic lighting control based on occupancy sensors. The building's large atrium and high office ceilings increase penetration of natural light into core spaces, passing it through to perimeter areas. Exterior offices and labs and upper atrium offices have day-lighting sensors that automatically dim overhead fluorescent lighting when adequate natural light is available. Offices also have occupancy sensors that turn off the light when the room is vacant. Savings from these measures is 920,000 kWh and $55,000 per year.

  • The new Public Health Sciences building also collects ground water from the perimeter foundation and under slab drainage system and pumps it to the city storm water collection system. A new holding tank and irrigation pump were installed to utilize a portion of this water for irrigation purposes. This initiative decreases the use of city water for irrigation during summer months when water conservation is most needed.

  • A new control device was retrofitted onto the center's seven glass washers to minimize use of deionized water in the rinse process. The new meters compare the incoming conductivity of deionized water to that of the rinse water. When they are similar in conductivity, additional rinse cycles are eliminated. The retrofit saves 227,000 gallons of water and $2,000 per year. It also cuts the energy needed to heat the rinse water and power the rinse cycles.

Media Contact
Susan Edmonds
(206) 667-2896

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home of two Nobel Prize laureates, is an independent, nonprofit research institution dedicated to the development and advancement of biomedical technology to eliminate cancer and other potentially fatal diseases. Fred Hutchinson receives more funding from the National Institutes of Health than any other independent U.S. research center. Recognized internationally for its pioneering work in bone-marrow transplantation, the center's four scientific divisions collaborate to form a unique environment for conducting basic and applied science. Fred Hutchinson, in collaboration with its clinical and research partners, the University of Washington Academic Medical Center and Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in the Pacific Northwest and is one of 38 nationwide. For more information, visit the center's Web site at