Protecting the environment is a top priority at UCSF and the medical center’s sustainability report details UCSF’s journey to greener operations.
UCSF and the medical center have made great strides in its sustainability efforts, known as Living Green. These efforts run the gamut from replacing toxic cleaners with certified Green Seal products, converting to paperless medical records, donating more than 13,000 pounds of medical equipment and supplies to international hospitals and clinics, and serving organic food in the hospital.
UCSF recognizes that health care’s ethical responsibility is “first, do no harm.” However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 1 percent of all solid waste in the U.S. originates at health care facilities. In fact, the EPA reports that the medical industry generates more than two million tons of waste annually and consumes more than 8 percent of the total energy used in U.S. Hospitals and other health care facilities are on average among the most energy-intensive buildings in the country.
UCSF is a leader in identifying and implementing sustainability measures at the medical center. Over the past four years, the medical center has earned Practice GreenHealth’s Partner for Change with Distinction Award, recognizing efforts to cut waste, reduce toxins and cut energy. UCSF was just awarded the award again for 2013.
The medical center is also a signatory of the Healthier Hospital Initiative, a call to action committing to three of the six planks: engaged leadership, healthier food and less waste. This initiative was founded by 11 of the largest, most influential U.S. health systems, comprising more than 490 hospitals with more than $20 billion in purchasing power. It serves as a guide to help hospitals reduce energy and waste, purchase safer and less toxic materials and serve healthier foods.
The medical center’s sustainability efforts save money, reduce waste, reduce emissions, improve quality and increase efficiency, as well as shift the culture, reducing UCSF’s impact on the environment and community.
One of the major green building projects underway that targes LEED gold certification is UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay, which is incorporating the highest standards of energy efficiency, seismic safety and sustainabilty in its design. That medical center, to serve women, children and cancer patients, is scheduled to open in February 2015.