About Sustainable Practices

"OHSU is committed to being a leader in environmentally friendly and sustainable practices. We believe a healthy environment is essential for a healthy community. Thanks to the GreenTeam for their hard work and dedication!"

- OHSU President, Joe Robertson Jr., M.D., M.B.A.

OHSU Bicycle Parking.  Photo by Kent Anderson

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 green building requirements. These are guiding commitments to reduce OHSU's environmental impact on the communities it serves.  Read more about OHSU's Green Commitment here.

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 also has two other LEED certified buildings: the Collaborative Life Sciences Building andthe Lamfrom Biomedical Research Building.
  • OHSU's Kohler Pavilion was constructed following the environmentally-focused Green Guide to Healthcare.
  • OHSU enjoys over 100,000 square feet of eco-roofs 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, antibiotic-free meat, and Marine Stewardship Certified & Seafood Watch "Best Seafood" in the patient, retail, and catering operations.
  • OHSU is continually improving waste reduction and management, offering free recycling services, a sustainable office supply purchasing program, and a surplus (equipment reuse) program. The recycling program is not limited to office areas - the Hospital South O.R. team developed a recycling program for materials used in operating rooms.  The recycling department also runs a free Office Supply 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.
  • Food and Nutrition composts food scraps in kitchen areas, the Mackenzie Hall cafeteria, and OHSU Hospital South Cafeteria.   Read more about our composting efforts.

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

  • 2015 Practice Greenhealth Circles of Excellence Award for Green Building
  • 2015 Practice Greenhealth Partner for Change Award
  • 2011 Practice Greenhealth Partner for Change, with Distinction Award
  • 2011 Healthcare Without Harm Award for Public Policy & Advocacy and Food Climate Health Connection
  • 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.