Climate Action

We are working both to mitigate our contribution to climate change, and to prepare for its health consequences, such as extreme weather events. While our system has yet to formally conduct a greenhouse gas inventory of all of our hospitals, we have taken significant steps to mitigate our impact on climate change. The following are efforts we have made in 2013 to directly address climate change mitigation within our operations and throughout the broader community:

  • All major medical centers have committed to the HHI Leaner Energy Challenge, aiming to reduce greenhouse gases by decreasing weather-adjusted energy intensity from metered energy use. Responsible energy management has become one of the principal priorities within the system’s sustainability efforts. For more information about our energy reduction efforts, please review the Leaner Energy section of this report.
  • Commitment to reducing carbon footprint of food purchasing through participation in Healthier Hospitals Initiative Healthier Food Challenge.
  • University Hospitals’ Sustainability Specialist represents UH on the City of Cleveland’s Climate Action Advisory Committee, which was established in 2012 and continues to meet through 2014. The primary goal of this committee was to create a formal climate plan in 2013 for the region and strategize ways for individuals, businesses and institutions to subsequently carry out action items identified within the plan. View the Cleveland Climate Action plan.
  • In 2012, UH began work with the Natural Resources Defense Council and Healthcare Without Harm to support a new study to evaluate changes in health care utilization and costs associated with the previous two summers’ extreme heat waves.
  • Within our internal utility tracking dashboard, we have greenhouse gas emissions reporting capabilities, which we have begun to evaluate for formal use in 2014. Within the report, we are able to break out our direct and indirect emissions, as well as optional tracking for other emissions such as employee business travel, typical commuting and product transport.

15 Environmental Excellence awards

UH received 15 Environmental Excellence awards from Practice Greenhealth, including the prestigious System for Change award, for our systemwide achievements in sustainability in 2013.