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

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - For the sixth 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 in Denver on May 2 to recognize a number of facilities throughout the country that exemplify environmental excellence.

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

“All the efforts of our dedicated staff to recycle more, waste less and reduce our environmental footprint continue to pay off as an important service to the community,” says Tony Denton, executive director of University Hospitals and chief operating officer, UMHHC.

Since 2005, the U-M Health System has improved its energy efficiency by 20 percent. In 2011 alone, the Health System implemented 15 energy conservation projects. During the same year, 3.8 million pounds of trash were diverted from the landfill and recycled–close to a quarter of the UMHHC’s total waste stream. UMHHC has also increased cardboard recycling by 25%, plastics by 75%, batteries by 39% and electronic recycling by 41% in the past year.

In early April, the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital earned an award for its energy, environmental design and “green” building process.

“Our Hospitals and Health Centers continue to seek guidance from our Environmental Stewardship Steering Committee,” says Tom Peterson, associate director of Operations and Support Services for UMHHC. “This group of committed leaders provides oversight, direction and coordination of all of our environmental efforts, and continues to lead the way to further enhance our stewardship programs."

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.
  • Green lights program to install energy-efficient lighting technologies
  • Re-use efforts, including sending unneeded supplies to other countries via the Detroit-based World Medical Relief charity
  • Transportation programs to reduce emissions and conserve natural resources
  • A GreenIT initiative to conserve energy used by computers across UMHHC and reduce information technology infrastructure costs for clinical and administrative systems
  • 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
  • LEED certified buildings including the new C.S. Mott Children’s and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital opening in fall 2011, which was approved and designed at the certified level in Leadership Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System
  • New buildings designed to be 30% 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
  • Energy Management Program operating and upgrading existing building systems for optimal energy efficiency
  • 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."

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