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UCI Health maintenance goes electric

Sustainably powered bikes, carts and landscaping tools beautify the Orange campus while keeping the air clean

April 24, 2024
a man wearing a white hat, dark shirt and pants and a yellow construction safety vest rides an electric bike on a paved road in front of a red curb and fence
A co-worker at UCI Health gets around on one of the 35 electric bikes in operation in Orange.

Orange, Calif. — A commitment to sustainability touches numerous corners at UCI Health, including to the equipment that keeps the grounds and facilities at UCI Medical Center in Orange looking beautiful.

The change from polluting, noisy gas-powered vehicles and equipment to the use of bicycles and all-electric vehicles was driven by the facilities maintenance team at UCI Health.

“Instead of leasing vehicles, our department and grounds crew ride bikes and use electric carts to respond to calls across the campus,” says Tony Dover, energy manager at UCI Health.

So far, 35 bikes and nine electric carts are in operation.

The department has also transitioned more than 25 gas-powered landscaping tools to electric, including riding lawn mowers, trimmers, weed whackers and blowers.

“UCI Health has continued to reduce our carbon emissions year over year,” Dover says. “And it’s activities like these that contribute to that reduction.”

Protecting the community

Joe Brothman, director of general services at UCI Health, says more than 75% of the landscaping inventory has been replaced with battery-powered equipment.

The benefits are many to all involved, he says.

a man wearing a dark knit cap, dark jacket and pants trims hedges at uci medical center in orange with an electric powered trimmer he wears on his backA co-worker at UCI Medical Center in Orange uses a battery-powered hedge trimmer. More than 25 gas-powered landscaping tools have been transferred to electric, including riding lawn mowers, trimmers, weed whackers and blowers.

“Moving to electrified grounds equipment not only reduces our carbon emissions, but also eliminates exposing our visitors, patients, and coworkers to harmful emissions, noise and dangerous chemicals. It aligns well with our organization’s goal to make UCI Health the best place to give and get care.”

Brothman emphasized that making the move to electrical devices had a lot to do with the grounds crew members’ adaptability.

“Our ability to transition to electrified grounds equipment is due in large part to our facilities leaders and grounds co-workers’ willingness to adapt to new technology. This transition takes time and extra effort, but they are committed to doing what is best for our patients, visitors, and fellow coworkers.”

Sustainability leader

UCI Health is leading several initiatives that advance its goals to become a sustainable organization.

In 2021, the health system joined Race to Zero, a United Nations-backed initiative, and has pledged to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, reporting on its progress annually.

Efforts at UCI Medical Center in Orange have already reduced electricity, natural gas and water usage. Since 2022, there has been a 25% decrease in anesthetic gas use, which accounts for up to half of all hospital emissions.

At UCI Health ― Irvine, now under construction, a state-of-the-art central utilities plant that will deliver clean energy to the entire campus.

Read more

About UCI Health

UCI Health is the clinical enterprise of the University of California, Irvine, and the only academic health system based in Orange County. UCI Health is comprised of its main campus, UCI Medical Center, a 459-bed, acute care hospital in in Orange, Calif., four hospitals and affiliated physicians of the UCI Health Community Network in Orange and Los Angeles counties and ambulatory care centers across the region. Listed among America’s Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for 23 consecutive years, UCI Medical Center provides tertiary and quaternary care and is home to Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centerhigh-risk perinatal/neonatal program and American College of Surgeons-verified Level I adult and Level II pediatric trauma centergold level 1 geriatric emergency department 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 FacebookInstagramLinkedIn and Twitter.

About UCI Health — Irvine

UCI Health — Irvine, a new medical complex under construction at the north end of the UC Irvine campus, will bring unparalleled expertise and the finest evidence-based care that only an academic health system can offer to the communities of coastal and south Orange County.

As part of UCI Health — which includes the flagship UCI Medical Center in Orange, Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and multiple outpatient care locations — the new 1.2 million-square-foot campus will offer key clinical programs in oncology, digestive health, neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedics and spine surgery.

The nation’s first all-electric, carbon-neutral medical center, UCI Health — Irvine will be home to:

  • The Joe C. Wen & Family UCI Health Center for Advanced Care, a five-story, 168,000-square-foot medical facility offering the full range of multidisciplinary specialty care for children and adults under a single roof, urgent care services, the Center for Children’s Health and the UCI Health Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders — Opening spring 2024
  • The Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and Ambulatory Care building, a five-story, 193,000-square-foot tower with 52 private exam rooms, 26 infusion bays and eight outpatient operating rooms — Opening 2024
  • A seven-story, 350,000-square-foot, acute care hospital with 144 inpatient beds, 10 operating suites and a 24-hour emergency department with 20 treatment rooms — Opening 2025