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UCI Health — Irvine: A model of sustainability

Medical campus setting a new standard for climate responsibility in healthcare

May 13, 2024
an aerial view taken by a drone of uci health irvine on a sunny day and its central utility plant, which is the first all electric plant to power a medical center. the buildings are labeled with their names along their roofs.

Sustainability has not been the norm for hospitals, but the construction of UCI Health — Irvine could have ripple effects throughout the healthcare industry.

As the first medical campus in the United States to be completely powered by an all-electric, clean energy central utility plant, it seeks to set a new standard in sustainability and climate responsibility for the sector. It is part of the organization’s commitment to sustainability and achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

KABC7 television news logo blue white blackUCI Health director of facilities spoke to ABC7 about the campus.

"This facility will be the way energy-intensive hospitals and buildings are built in the future. Hospitals are open 24/7. They're always on. A lot of the airflow requirements in hospitals cause our heating, ventilation and cooling to be more demanding [of energy] than those in a common building.”

Hospitals normally use natural gas to heat and refrigerate water and generate steam. At the new medical campus, sustainably produced electricity will produce hot and cold water and steam.

Coming soon

The first part of the campus is complete with the opening of the Joe C. Wen & Family Center for Advanced Care, a 168,000-square-foot facility featuring a full range of pediatric and specialty services, including digestive health, cardiology, endocrinology, gynecology, neurosciences, pain management, primary care and more.

The second building in the $1.3 billion Irvine medical complex, the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and Ambulatory Care building, will open to patients in July. The final building in the Irvine medical complex will be a 144-bed acute care hospital complete with a 24-hour emergency department, which is scheduled to open in 2025.

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