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UVM Medical Center wins health care climate challenge awards

Hospital Earns Awards for ‘Renewable Energy’ and ‘Climate Resilience’

Vermont Business Magazine UVM Medical Center’s ongoing work to create partnerships and programs focused on sustainability and environmental excellence in health care has again been recognized by a leading international advocate for sustainable practices.

Health Care Without Harm, an international organization focused on environmental reform, sustainability and equity in health care, recently named UVM Medical Center as the recipient of its 2022 Health Care Climate Challenge Silver Awards for Renewable Energy and Climate Resilience.

The annual awards are given based on environmental-impact-related data collected in partnership with Practice Greenhealth, and this year honor leading hospitals in more than 40 countries that have signed a pledge to reduce their own climate footprint, prepare for climate-related impacts and lead the way to a low-carbon future.

“It’s an honor to once again be recognized for our work to try and create a better future for all of us,” said Diane Imrie, Director of Nutrition Services at the Medical Center and Chairperson of the hospital’s Sustainability Council. “Focusing on how health care organizations can make positive impacts on our climate is still relatively new, so it’s an honor for the Medical Center to be recognized as a global leader.”

A Focus on Green Building and Sustainable Agriculture

UVM Medical Center’s work in decreasing its own environmental footprint — especially through its Miller Inpatient Building, which opened to patients in June of 2019 — earned the organization’s recognition. Efficiency, energy conservation and sustainability were at the heart of the building’s design. The building was designed to use half the energy of a comparable hospital, and UVM Medical Center’s Facilities team is able to monitor the building’s energy use to ensure it is running efficiently. Earlier this year, the Miller Building earned LEED Gold Certification.

Unique efforts to foster partnerships with local farms, with a focus on sustainably and locally sourcing as much beef and poultry as possible, are tangible examples of UVM Medical Center’s innovative approach to sustainability in health care. The hospital partners with two local farms – Maplewind and Lucas Family Farms – to provide the majority of its chicken and beef. The partnerships have resulted in higher food quality for patients, staff and visitors, and are also cost-neutral.

UVM Medical Center also partners with about a dozen Vermont farms on a project called BloomTrain, a regional campaign of farmers and community members working to heal the land and care for pollinator populations.

“This work is building topsoil, maintaining clean water and preventing runoff damage. This work is critical to the future health of our community,” Imrie said.

Programs focused on serving healthy food, reducing waste and limiting the use of chemicals have earned UVM Medical Center a perennial sport among national leaders in sustainable health care. Since 2009, the hospital has been a recurring recipient of Practice Greenhealth’s prestigious Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award, which recognizes the top green hospitals in the country. Since 2015, the Fanny Allen campus has also won the organization’s Emerald Award, which honors outstanding achievement and continuous improvement around sustainable operations.

Most recently, UVM Medical Center was named to Practice Greenhealth’s Circles of Excellence for waste, food, and green building in 2022. The awards recognize the 10 highest-performing hospitals each year, in specific categories related to environmental sustainability.

About the University of Vermont Medical Center
The University of Vermont Medical Center  is a 499-bed tertiary care regional referral center providing advanced care to approximately 1 million residents in Vermont and northern New York. Together with our partners at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, we are Vermont’s academic medical center. The University of Vermont Medical Center also serves as a community hospital for approximately 150,000 residents in Chittenden and Grand Isle counties. 

The University of Vermont Medical Center is a member of The University of Vermont Health Network, an integrated system established to deliver high-quality academic medicine to every community we serve.

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12.22.2022. Burlington, Vt. – UVM Medical Center