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Greening Healthcare: A commitment to planet centred care

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University Health Network has been proudly green for almost fifteen years. Led by the Energy and Environment department, we breathe life into the motto “UHN: Committed to Patient and Planet Centered Care”. We’ve won awards for our groundbreaking programs, including two at OHA HealthAchieve Green Health Care Awards in both the Energy and Water categories. We put concern for the environment right into how we care for and treat patients. Here’s just some of what we do:

Energy Awareness Program – With our TLC – Care to Conserve energy management program, UHN combines raising awareness, changing behaviors and installing more efficient equipment to save energy. Projects include LED lights, energy efficient chillers, a cool roof and a green roof. Our most important element is staff uptake, with over 100 volunteer energy experts spreading energy efficient words and actions.

Green Team – With only six staff to help 15,000 colleagues, we would be nowhere without our Green Team. Well over 600 dedicated staff volunteer a little time to help green their departments. Departments with green teams recycle better, conserve more energy and have fun doing it!

Medical Equipment Donations – Working with Operation Green and other organizations, we collect surplus medical equipment and supplies to give to developing communities that need them.

Recycling & Composting – We have a long running and successful recycling and composting program that saves over a third of our waste from landfill. And with separated recycling, like paper/cardboard vs. cans/bottles, we save money too. That’s green environmentally and financially.

eWaste – In healthcare and everywhere, we’re seeing more electronic waste like computers, medical equipment, printers, toner and batteries. We have several programs to recycle it ethically, so that future generations aren’t stepping over a mountain of old cartridges.

Clean commuting – UHN’s staff is a small city in itself, with around 15,000 staff. More than 2,500 of our people use the TTC VIP program. The Bicycle User Group, plus our many bike parking zones, all encourage our 1,500 cyclists. And our carpool-matching program connects staff to share a ride.

Green Cleaning and Maintenance Products – UHN uses more and more eco-certified green alternative, which helps protect our staff, patients and visitors from toxic chemicals.

UHN Food Garden – A groundbreaking (pun intended) ‘Seed to Feed’ experience for UHN staff and members of the cancer survivorship programs at ELLICSR. Volunteer stewards help develop the garden from seed and maintain the garden as it grows. The harvest is used in the ELLICSR kitchen to teach cancer survivors how to cook healthy meals.

KDC – The Krembil Discovery Tower , a world-class research centre, was built with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification Standards in mind. LEED is the gold standard in measuring human and environmental health.

Talkin’ Trash with UHN – Our blog featuring free-range, organic ideas from around UHN http://talkintrashwithuhn.com/. We now get social on Twitter & Facebook too.

All of these programs and projects are possible because UHN invests the resources to make it so. In turn, the Energy & Environment programs make UHN more efficient, saving far more resources. Starting with Ed Rubinstein, our Manager, our team has grown from one person to six in the last 15 years. We bring a lot to the table for our 15,000 colleagues. Energy project managers work with specific sites to make our buildings more efficient behind the scenes. Energy stewards work with staff in front of the scenes to educate and help positive behavior changes. From top down to bottom up, all 15,000 of us work towards a common green goal.

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