About Sustainable Practices

OHSU Bicycle Parking.  Photo by Kent Anderson

As the largest employer in Portland, OHSU serves as a leader among healthcare institutions in its commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility. Sustainability can be defined as meeting the environmental, economic, and social needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet similar needs.

OHSU recognizes that a healthy community and sustainable business are dependent upon a healthy environment. In the Vision 2020 Strategic Plan, a document that articulates OHSU's vision and goals as an institution, OHSU has included a sustainability strategy and tactics. These are guiding commitments to reduce OHSU's environmental impact on the communities it serves.

Working toward fulfillment of environmental commitments, OHSU's sustainability leadership initiatives include:

  • OHSU has empowered the GreenTeam, a cross-discipline volunteer organization within OHSU whose members are dedicated to promoting environmental sustainability and enhancement at OHSU through education, awareness and action.
  • South Waterfront's Center for Health & Healing is one of the largest healthcare facilities in the country to earn a LEED Platinum green building certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
  • OHSU's Kohler Pavilion was constructed following the environmentally-focused Green Guide to Healthcare.
  • OHSU enjoys ten ecoroofs which reduce stormwater runoff, improve air quality, increase vegetation, and provide wildlife habitat and insulation for buildings.
  • OHSU operates the largest workplace bike program in Portland and incentivizes sustainable transportation modes.
  • OHSU operates sustainable food programs, including a Farmers Market and natural food store, and serves locally grown foods in the patient, retail, and catering operations.
  • OHSU is continually improving waste reduction and management, offering free recycling services, a sustainable purchasing program, and a surplus (equipment reuse) program.
  • OHSU manages and conserves natural resources following a comprehensive stormwater and natural resource management plans.
  • OHSU invests in energy efficiency, working to reduce the amount of fossil fuel-based energy consumed by its facilities.

OHSU has been recognized for its sustainability leadership in healthcare, including:

  • 2011 Practice Greenhealth Partner for Change, with Distinction Award
  • 2007 Healthcare without Harm Environmental Leadership Award
  • 2006 Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E) Partners for Change Award
  • 2004 City of Portland Award for Environmental Excellence

To learn more about sustainability and OHSU's environmental initiatives, please contact the GreenTeam at greentm@ohsu.edu.