For efforts to reduce its environmental impact through recycling , more energy-efficient buildings and telehealth, University of Virginia Health System received a bronze medal this month at the Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards.
UVA’s award application for its sustainability program included its extensive participation in recycling, environmentally friendly construction of new buildings and participation in the Local Food Hub program .
Other examples of UVA’s efforts to more efficiently use resources include:
Retrofitting older buildings for energy efficiency: Health System Physical Plant’s “Delta Force” program examines energy usage and identifies renovations that will reduce energy waste. Renovations made to the first building in the program, Medical Research Building 4, led to $1 million in energy savings from 2009-2011. Using telehealth to reduce travel to Charlottesville: Through a UVA Center for Telehealth -led effort, patients are able to access specialty care from UVA clinicians at more than 100 telemedicine locations across Virginia, sparing some patients the lengthy drive to Charlottesville. This saves Virginia residents an estimated 476,000 miles of driving annually, according to the award application. Reducing paper towel usage: Hand dryers have replaced paper towel dispensers in new public restrooms, cutting the amount of paper sent to landfills by 30,000 pounds.
“As we work to provide the best care to our patients, develop research breakthroughs and educate healthcare providers, we are always looking for ways to carry out our missions in the most efficient way possible,” said Bo Cofield, associate vice president for hospital and clinics operations at UVA Medical Center.
This is the second environmental award for UVA Health System in recent months, joining a sustainability award received by UVA Medical Center in September 2012 from UHC, a national group of academic medical centers.