Environmental Program

The Elm Tree Clinic is a leader in environmental responsibility. Not only have we taken many steps for higher efficiency, we were also the first business in Caledon to buy 100% renewable energy from Bullfrog Power

Bullfrog Power Renewable Energy: Anyone in Caledon can get their power from them- it’s a mix of wind energy and Ecologo-certified hydroelectric, but no coal, nuclear or gas power.

We heat our water and building with natural gas from Bullfrog Power too. They add renewable natural gas from landfills and other projects to the system for any we use.

We are also generating clean power with our solar panels.

Electricity generation is the #1 smog creator in Ontario, thanks to our antiquated coal-fired generators, and a huge source of CO2. Read below how we’ve chopped our emissions:

Our initiatives:

Solar Power: We are now generating clean electricity with 32 solar panels mounted on our rooftop. These produce up to 7500W of power.  Click here for more info about the MicroFIT program.

Energy Efficient Lighting: We use ultra high efficiency LED lighting throughout the office, with a few high-efficiency fluorescent lights gradually getting upgraded Click here for more info.

Heating: We had an Energy Efficiency Audit in 2000 to help us decrease heat loss and improve heating efficiency. (The Provincial Conservative Government stopped funding this program.)
We also heat with renewable natural gas from Bullfrog Power.

Cooling: During the summer, we open all the windows first thing in the morning and use evacuation fans to vent out all the stale warm air. When the day heats up we close them and activate our air conditioning. This means our office is a bit warmer than 20 degrees in summer, but it also reduces the electrical demand right when it is highest, so less smog is produced from electricity generation.

Computers, hubs and power bars: We shut down all our computer systems every night and also shut down the UPS and power bars they connect to, so all the peripherals don’t use energy 24 hours a day. New for 2005, we have switched entirely to notebook computers and EnergyStar compliant LCD monitors to save more energy. For more information, click here.

Green Transportation: Dr. Ehrlich runs, bikes or skis to work much of the time instead of driving. He’s saved about 300 car trips a year, adding up to 25,000km of human-powered commuting so far.

Dr E also buys clean gas for his vehicle from Bullfrog Power.  If he flies for continuing education or pleasure, he buys Gold Certified Carbon Offsets from Less.ca.

For more info on transit options and other alternatives in Caledon, click here. We also make a point of walking to the post office instead of driving, as short-haul trips are big pollution sources. (The vehicles never get a chance to warm up, and the emissions controls don’t work on short trips.)

Water Efficiency: Our suction unit is equipped with a water recycler to reduce water consumption, and our hands-free taps and high efficiency taps and toilets help reduce water usage too. For more information on energy conservation through water reduction, click here.

Recycling: We recycle all of our cardboard. Our office paper is recycled except for confidential info which is shredded and used as fire starter. All plastic containers are recycled, even our little plastic cups.  We compost too, including our paper towels and compostable patient coffee cups!

Dr. Ehrlich authors an environmental column in the Caledon newspapers called Clean Air Clean Energy. You may link to these articles here.
Oct. 2007:  Dr. Ehrlich was one of the 3 winners of the first Bullfrog Splash Awards for contribution to the environment. Article in Caledon Enterprise Oct 07.

Hazardous Waste Removal and Recycling

Mercury Capture system: Dr. Ehrlich was the winner of the 1998 Environmentalist of the Year award in Caledon. The Elm Tree Clinic endeavours to be as environmentally-responsible as possible. We do not use mercury-containing fillings. Our office was one of the first in Ontario to be equipped with an amalgam recycler, which allows us to capture any mercury-silver filling debris removed from teeth which enter our suction lines, and ship it for proper handling and recycling.

X-ray chemicals and other waste: We no longer use x-ray film or chemical developers, as we use digital systems. All our biohazardous waste is collected separately and sent for proper treatment and disposal, according to local and provincial guidelines.

Computers When our computers need upgrading, the old ones are securely wiped then donated to schools in Africa. Other electronics are taken to the electronics recycling depot.