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Organization honors UCI Health for environmental initiatives

Recognized by Practice Greenhealth with four sustainability awards

May 18, 2023
2023 practice greenhealth environmental excellence awards logo green letters on white background with laurel leaves on both sides
UCI Health earned its second Climate Champion and
Emerald Awards from Practice Greenhealth, as well
as its first Greening the OR Award Recognition.

Orange, Calif. — UCI Health has once again been recognized as a national leader in environmental sustainability by Practice Greenhealth, earning two Circle of Excellence Awards and the Greenhealth Emerald Award for a second time.

The academic health system was also honored for the first time with a Greening the OR Award Recognition.

“This is an absolutely across-the-board team effort and only validates and confirms some of the things that we are trying to do here,” said UCI Health CEO Chad Lefteris.

“There are many caring, intelligent and compassionate people with big hearts and doing important things here, and it is such a privilege and an honor to watch it all happen.”

Practice Greenhealth is the nation’s leading organization dedicated to environmental sustainability in health care. More than 1,400 U.S. hospitals and healthcare systems are part of the Practice Greenhealth network.

Its Circle of Excellence awards honor up to 10 hospitals in each of 11 categories. Hospitals chosen are sustainability high performers that have made a demonstrable impact and reached target metrics in their awarded categories. UCI Health was awarded in the energy and climate categories.

2023 practice greenhealth emerald award logo green and blue letters on white background with laurel leaves on both sides

The organization's second Greenhealth Emerald Award was given in recognition of the organization’s steadfast dedication to building sustainability into its operations and culture and improve its environmental performance efforts.

In recognition of its commitment to reducing the use of anesthetic gases in the operating room, Project Greenhealth also gave UCI Health its first Greening the OR Recognition Award.

2023 practice greenhealth greening the or recognition award logo green letters on white background with laurel leaves on both sides

Since 2022, UCI Health has reduced anesthetic gas emissions by 25% and has a commitment to reduce them further.

UCI Health is an innovator in sustainability thanks to the construction of UCI Health – Irvine, which will be the nation’s first all-electric, carbon-neutral hospital when it opens in in 2025. The seven-story, 350,000-square-foot-hospital will be powered by a 45,000-square-foot central utility plant that uses no natural gas.

Among other achievements in sustainability for UCI Health include:

  • Being named a 2022 Climate Champion by Health Care Without Harm for its progress and commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • Joining Race to Zero, a United Nations-backed global campaign, pledging to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and to report annually on its progress
  • Being named a Conservation Champion from Water Savers Solutions for water-saving efficiency and conservation efforts since 2015
  • Launching an organics pre-consumer waste-to-animal feed program
  • Procuring 100% clean (zero carbon) electricity
  • Improving energy performance metrics (reducing overall demand for electricity and natural gas) and reducing our carbon emissions
  • Establishing an executive-level sustainability steering committee
  • Developing and implementing a best-practice advisory pilot program to lower fresh gas flow rates
  • Hosting climate resilience planning workshops with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Eliminating the use of desflurane, an inhaled anesthetic gas with the highest global warming potential
  • Reducing overall demand for electricity and natural gas

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UCI Health is the clinical enterprise of the University of California, Irvine, and the only academic health system in Orange County. Patients can access UCI Health at primary and specialty care offices across Orange County and at its main campus, UCI Medical Center in Orange, Calif. The 459-bed, acute care hospital, listed among America’s Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for 21 consecutive years, provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation services. UCI Medical Center is home to Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program and American College of Surgeons-verified Level I adult and Level II pediatric trauma center and regional burn center. UCI Health serves a region of nearly 4 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.