U-M Hospitals and Health Centers Receives Top Environmental Award for Seventh Straight Year

Michael Steigmeyer, UMHS Public Relations
Release Date: 

For the seventh consecutive year, the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers has been given the Environmental Leadership Circle Award, Practice Greenhealth’s most prestigious honor.

Practice Greenhealth, a national membership organization of health care facilities committed to environmentally responsible operations, presented the award Thursday, April 25 at the Environmental Excellence Awards Ceremony in Boston. The ceremony recognized a number of facilities throughout the country that exemplify environmental excellence.

“We are excited and honored to be recognized for our commitment to environmental sustainability for the seventh year in a row,” says Doug Strong, CEO, UMHHC.

“Each year, 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,” adds Tony Denton, Executive Director of University Hospitals and Chief Operating Officer, UMHHC. 

In 2012, 3.5 million pounds of trash were diverted from the landfill through UMHHC’s recycling efforts.  This resulted in an overall recycle rate of 28 percent for 2012.

The same year, UMHHC improved energy efficiency by 5 percent in existing buildings and reduced greenhouse gas emissions from its facilities by 3 percent.

UMHHC also completed 12 energy conservation projects in 2012, including: 

  • 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
  • GreenIT programs to manage computer energy use during inactive periods

UMHHC requires all new buildings, additions and construction projects with a budget of $10 million 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.

Additional UMHHC environment stewardship efforts include:

• Mercury-free program
• Smoke-free environment
• Extensive recycling initiatives, including paper and cardboard, scrap metals, batteries, ceiling tiles, wood pallets, kitchen grease, plastic linen bags, mixed plastics, print cartridges, beverage containers and lab solvents.
• Re-use efforts, including sending unneeded supplies to other countries via the Detroit-based World Medical Relief charity
• Alternative transportation programs to reduce emissions and conserve natural resources
• Environmentally-preferred purchasing, which incorporates environmental sustainability practices into supply chain processes
• Design and architecture efforts to improve indoor air quality and reduce construction waste
• Food programs promoting use of fresh, locally grown products for patients, staff and visitors
• New buildings designed to be 30 percent more energy efficient than the State of Michigan energy standards
• Participation in a University-wide Planet Blue effort, which puts an emphasis on sustainability in education, research and operations
• Beverage container recycling
• Writing utensil recycling
• Energy conservation efforts
• Lab sustainability projects
• Paper conservation through the Think Before you Print campaign

“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.”