U-M Hospitals and Health Centers receives top environmental award for 8th straight year

UMHHC receives Emerald Award for leadership in environmental achievement

The University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers has been awarded the prominent Greenhealth Emerald Award by Practice Greenhealth.

Practice Greenhealth, a national membership organization of health care facilities committed to environmentally responsible operations, presented Environmental Excellence Awards in Cleveland, Ohio, June 5 at the CleanMed Conference & Exhibition. The ceremony recognized a number of facilities throughout the country that exemplify environmental excellence.

This is the eighth consecutive year that UMHHC has been recognized for environmental achievement.

The Greenhealth Emerald Award recognizes health care facilities that have achieved improvements in mercury elimination, waste reduction, recycling and source reduction programs. Winning hospitals are selected using Practice Greenhealth’s improved scoring and evaluation system, and are further along the path to sustainability and show leadership in the local community and in the health care sector.

“Once again, the work of our dedicated faculty and staff to recycle more, waste less and reduce our environmental footprint continues to benefit our community and institution,” said Tony Denton, Chief Operating Officer for the Hospitals and Health Centers.  “It is an honor to receive ongoing recognition of our team sustainability efforts.”

The Hospitals and Health Centers has established recycling programs for each of the following materials: paper, cardboard, beverage containers, wood pallets, plastic laundry bags, scrap metal, batteries, computer equipment, fluorescent light bulbs, light ballasts, lab chemicals (alcohol, xylene, formalin), used linens and more.  In calendar year 2013, more than 3.1 million pounds of material were diverted from the waste stream through these recycling efforts.

UMHHC invests in new energy conservation projects which reduces energy consumption and operating expense. In 2013 alone, the organization completed 10 different projects to enhance energy efficiency, and in the process, reduced operating expense by more than $300,000.  Some of these projects included:

– Advanced air handling unit controls to more efficiently heat, cool and circulate building air
– New controls to reduce heating and cooling demands in unoccupied areas during nights and weekends
– Occupancy sensors for lighting and ventilation control
– Daylight sensors for lighting control
– Water saving fixture retrofits in restrooms
– Airflow balancing
– Green IT programs to manage computer energy use during inactive periods

UMHHC also requires all new buildings, additions and construction projects with a budget of $10,000,000 or more to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver level. LEED is one of most widely-accepted international rating systems for measuring the environmental impact of new construction.  By meeting LEED standards, UMHHC is able to support the implementation of sustainable design concepts for new construction. Specifically, designing LEED certified buildings helps UMHHC to achieve energy savings, water efficiency, reduced CO2 emissions and improved indoor environmental quality.

Last year the U- M Health System was named among the 50 most sustainable hospitals in America.

“We’re honored to once again be recognized in our continuing journey toward environmental sustainability,” says Bruce Cadwallender, Director, UMHHC Safety & Emergency Management. “Leaders at all levels are embracing improvements, contributing ideas and joining together to help us continuously improve. We truly appreciate these collective efforts.”