UW Health Environmental Sustainability Report 2015



2015 UW Health Environmental Sustainability Annual ReportTo support UW Health’s mission of advancing health without compromise, principally through social responsibility, doing what is best for the communities we serve through policy advocacy, health care delivery, public health, and environmental sustainability.




The Environmental Sustainability Committee is committed to helping UW Health meet its current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The Committee will help make sustainability a foundation of strategic planning and decision-making at UW Health. Working together, we will turn UW Health into a national leader for health care sustainability.


Accomplishments at a Glance


View our 2015 timeline


Guiding Principles

The committee recognizes the importance of the following key elements of successful sustainability programs and initiatives:

  • Diverse membership
  • Sustainable business practice standards
  • Benchmarking building performance
  • Energy efficient technologies and design 
  • Reduced dependence on fossil fuels
  • Alternative transportation methods
  • Sustainable food options
  • Conservation of natural resources
  • Comprehensive waste management strategies
  • Meeting or exceeding all environmental regulations 
  • Community awareness and involvement
  • Achieving synergies with external organizations 

Sustainability Committee, Partners & Green Teams

The UW Health Environmental Sustainability Committee leads our sustainability program and efforts. It is an integrated and diverse team of internal and external partners that works on organization-wide sustainability initiatives. Committee leadership is comprised of Ralph Turner, Vice President of Facilities and Support Services, Mary Evers Statz, Director of Sustainability and Shannon Bunsen, Sustainability Program Manager.


Sustainability Committee Membership


The committee membership consists of individuals representing the following areas, schools and partner organizations:

Central Services
Culinary Services
Employee Wellness
Environmental Services
Facilities & Engineering Services
Facilities & Support Services
Information Services
Planning Design & Construction
Marketing & Public Affairs
Nursing Operations Support
Pharmaceutical Research
Procurement Services  
Spiritual Care Services
Surgical Services
Sustainability Program
UW-Madison Office of Sustainability
UW-Madison School of Medicine & Public Health
UW-Madison School of Nursing




Affiliated Engineers, Inc
Sustainable Engineering Group
Flad Architects
Pellitteri Waste Systems


Green Teams


Green Teams are groups of employees who work together to improve the sustainability of their workplace. The purpose of Green Teams is to inspire new ideas, find synergies, increase efficiencies, reduce waste, engage staff, develop leaders and foster our culture of sustainability. Team development is encouraged at the unit, department, clinic and facility levels throughout the organization. They connect with and update one another and provide support to new teams. All Green Teams pilot new ideas and share lessons learned with successful pilots extending into organization-wide initiatives. Green Team locations:


1 S. Park Street
8501 Excelsior Drive
American Family Children’s Hospital
Administrative Office Building
Administrative Services Building
Catheterization Lab
Clinical Science Center – Units B6/6, Unit F4/4
Digestive Health Center
East Clinic
Emergency Department
Facilities & Engineering Services
Guest Services
Middleton Rehab Clinic
Madison Surgery Center
Orthopedics Clinic
Paging & Messaging
Research Park Clinic
Transformations Surgery Center
University Station Clinic
University Crossing
West Clinic

Energy & Water

Energy and Water


We recognize that it takes quite a lot of energy and water to run our facilities, so we are committed to conservation. The UW Health Energy and Water team’s unifying goal is to strategically pursue and implement opportunities for energy and water conservation projects while enhancing safety, reliability and comfort. They work to develop relationships with Green Teams, users and purchasing groups to further identify opportunities to reduce water and energy waste within UW Health.


2015 Highlights:

  • Retro-commissioning project at University Hospital and American Family’s Children Hospital resulted in annual savings of $486,000. The project's energy impact was equivalent to 903 passenger vehicles taken off the road or 391 homes' energy use for one year.
  • Honored with the American Society for Healthcare Engineering Energy to Care Award  in 2015 for reducing energy consumption by 20 percent from 2013 to 2014 at University Hospital and American Family Children's Hospital
  • Designed UW Health at The American Center to have 60 percent water savings vs. standard new design



Waste is an inevitable output of our operations. However, it can turn into a valuable resource by identifying inefficiencies in our practices and providing opportunities for improvement. The maximum conservation of resources occurs by avoidance and minimization, reuse, recycling, recovery and disposal. The primary objective of our UW Health Waste team is to implement strategies for waste reduction, prioritizing based on toxicity, volume and opportunity.


2015 Highlights:

  • Trash audits performed to identify the percentage of recyclables that should have been diverted from the landfill. These audits provide us with opportunities to improve our education efforts as well as the efficiency of our waste streams. University Hospital’s recycling rate is above 30 percent, higher than national averages for hospitals. Practice Greenhealth, a nonprofit dedicated to best practices in healthcare communities, requires a 15 percent recycle rate for partnership and 25 percent for leadership awards.
  • The operating room began reprocessing single-use devices, which involves the disinfection, cleaning, remanufacturing, testing, packaging and sterilization of medical devices to be put in service again (e.g., compression sleeves, laryngeal mask airways, drill bits, scissor tips, etc.)
  • Compost program came full circle when landscaper began using the university's compost, which includes UW Health's organic waste, as a soil amendment on UW Health sites


Green Standards

The UW Health Green Standards team strives to strategically identify and implement sustainable business practice standards that support the social responsibility mission of our organization. We evaluate the environmental impact of our products, services and processes in an effort to select healthy, safe, environmentally preferable and sustainable options. Standards are being set in areas such as transportation, construction, procurement and culinary services. 

  • Committed to purchasing at least 20 percent of food from local and sustainable sources. Currently 375 Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares and 12 CSA sites across UW Health.
  • Published first administrative policy on sustainability and recycling
  • Achieved LEED certifications in 2015, including Digestive Health Center and UW Health at The American Center
  • Eliminated styrofoam from our inventory


An integral part of making our organization more sustainable is sharing our efforts with staff, as well as making and maintaining valuable connections beyond our walls. Our UW Health Outreach Team concentrates on influencing and motivating staff towards sustainable practices through education at our own facilities and partnerships in the community.


2015 Highlights

  • Earth Day:
    • Clean sweep campaign held throughout UW Health sites, encouraging all employees to declutter workspaces and recycle wherever possible
    • More than 100 fairy gardens were made with patients and staff
    • Sustainability tree provided an opportunity for staff to write down a specific or general commitment to being green
    • First computer-based training (CBT) provided to employees on sustainability and recycling

    • Lakeshore Nature Preserve volunteer event for staff and faculty
  • New Employee Orientation: 
    • Ongoing effort that provides a high-level overview of UW Health’s mission, sustainability committees and Green Team program, along with concrete examples of projects and how to get involved, to all new UW Health employees completing orientation (approximately 200-300 per month)
  • Badger Bioneers sponsorship and award
  • Madison Area Network for Sustainability in Health Care:
    • Local hospital sustainability collaborative celebrates one year of sharing best practices and lessons learned. The group is now planning for a community art project in 2016.