At the McGill University Health Centre, green is golden


AGPI Grants a Pilier d’Or in Environment for Montreal General Hospital Projects

The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) is proud to announce that it has earned a Pilier d’Or in the Environment category, a prize awarded annually by AGPI (Association des gestionnaires des parcs immobiliers du Québec). AGPI recognized the MUHC’s performance in construction, renovation and demolition (CRD) waste management at the Montreal General Hospital. This initiative reflects the MUHC’s efforts to reduce its ecological footprint and confirm its commitment to the City of Montreal’s Sustainable Development Charter.

“Since its inception, the MUHC has been dedicated to the public’s health and well-being. Our leadership in patient care, research and teaching is proof of this,” noted the Hon. Arthur T. Porter, Director General and CEO of the MUHC. “While it goes without saying that we must assume the environmental responsibilities that come with our activities, this award demonstrates that an academic health centre can also be a leader in a field that is not readily associated with its medical mission.”

The continuous bustle in the MUHC’s hospitals and the evolution of medicine cause constant infrastructure changes. Meanwhile, the disposal of construction waste in landfills is a major environmental issue. In Québec, it accounts for 30% of all solid waste disposed of in landfills. To mitigate this situation, the MUHC adopted a CRD Waste Management Policy in fall 2008 that is in keeping with the LEED® for New Construction minimal landfill diversion rate of 75%. The MUHC’s Technical Services department then seized the golden opportunity to test the diversion rate and the logistics required to achieve the goal.

Two Projects

Two wings representing 15,000 ft2 of surface at the Montreal General Hospital were selected as green renovation projects. Before even touching construction materials, MUHC employees working in the targeted areas made an initial environmental contribution by sorting equipment and office supplies. These were either recycled or reused. Thereafter, three rounds of material recycling took place, involving everything from wires, curtains, hardware materials, doors, countertops, cement, wood and windows.

The Results

An average of 84% of waste was diverted from landfill, 9% more than the target, while 100% of the windows were recycled and thus diverted from landfill.

“These remarkable results were unanticipated because the work was undertaken in fast-paced hospital environment with no storage space for CRD waste,” added Yanaï Elbaz, Associate Director General, Redevelopment, Planning and Real Estate Management. “That aside, when my teams face a challenge, I remind them about how confident I am that they will find the best solutions. They’re always ingenious!”

Difficulties included finding companies to sort all of the recyclable materials, the lack of experience in the construction field for this approach, and the tight project timeline. While these challenges have no bearing on the diversion rate per se, they underscore the complexity of the operation, which was conducted during the night while patients were sleeping and there was easier access to transport out the recyclable materials. These results and the procedures developed will also contribute to the future LEED® certification of the Mountain Campus.

“I am very proud of all our employees, particularly their tenacity,” underscored Serge Sévigny, Director of Technical Services at the MUHC. “This is the third time we’ve been awarded a Pilier d’Or, and this one is the result of exceptional collaboration. Despite almost insurmountable obstacles, we developed expertise and logistical capabilities tailored to the non-stop world of hospital operations.”

The Technical Services department acts as the maître d’œuvre of CRD projects to ensure that all infrastructure investments will accommodate the latest technologies, maximize patient care and meet the sustainable development commitment of the institution’s administration. The Mountain Campus is part of the MUHC Redevelopment, which also includes the Glen and Lachine campuses.

Since 1997, AGPI’s mission has been to promote the development of best practices in real estate management in institutional settings. Its Pilier d’Or recognizes the excellence of institutions in five categories: Management, Technical and Innovation, Recognition, Human Resources and Environment.

The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) is a comprehensive academic health institution with an international reputation for excellence in clinical programs, research and teaching. Its partner hospitals are the Montreal Children's Hospital, the Montreal General Hospital, the Royal Victoria Hospital, the Montreal Neurological Hospital and Institute, the Montreal Chest Institute and the Lachine Hospital. The goal of the MUHC is to provide patient care based on the most advanced knowledge in the health care field, and to contribute to the development of new knowledge.

About the MUHC Redevelopment Project Guided by its mission and its role as co-leaders of the McGill integrated university hospital network, the MUHC is carrying out a $2.2-billion Redevelopment Project that will help the Government achieve its vision for academic medicine in Quebec. Excellence in patient care, research, education and technology assessment will be fostered on three state-of-the-art campuses—The Mountain, the Glen and Lachine—and through strong relationships with healthcare partners. Each LEED®-registered campus will be designed to provide patients and their families with “The Best Care for Life” in a healing environment that is anchored in best sustainable development practices, including BOMA BESt guidelines.


For more  information, please contact:
Ian Popple, MUHC Communications