Green Commitment

OHSU: Planning for Sustainability


It's no surprise that OHSU has a deep commitment to sustainability and green planning. After all, OHSU is one of the largest employers in a city and a state known worldwide for leadership and dedication to conservation and the environment.

OHSU's commitment to the environment takes many forms, from banning all tobacco products on its Portland properties, to designing and developing some of the world's most advanced energy efficient buildings and facilities.

Employees and students push OHSU’s alternative transit mode scores to the highest percentage in the region, as we continue to strive for environmental sustainability. Along those lines, OHSU’s Transportation Department has been recognized with the Sustainable Business Oregon Innovation Award for Transportation, and The League of American Bicyclists Gold Level Bicycle Friendly award. A bicycle valet and parking area in the South Waterfront area, and the option to bring your bicycle up the hill on The Portland Aerial Tram further enhance the notion of bicycling to work and school.

In 2004, OHSU appointed and empowered the Green Team, a cross-section of OHSU employees committed to helping OHSU discover and implement new methods to achieve sustainability and environmental responsibility. Under their leadership OHSU began to implement extensive recycling programs, energy and water conservation measures, and noxious weed eradication.

Under the direction of the Green Team, OHSU annually recycles:

  • More than 500 tons of paper
  • Approximately 300 tons of cardboard
  • Nearly 100 tons of food waste
  • 40 tons of yard debris

And much more.

In an effort to help support surrounding communities and lower transportation impacts, OHSU Food and Nutrition Services began to purchase foods directly from local producers. When you are feeding more than 14,000 employees and providing meals for over a quarter million patients and their visitors on an annual basis, it adds up. For example, in one year:

  • OHSU purchased 4,000 pounds of organic chicken
  • 2,000 pounds of summer squash
  • Half a million half-pints of hormone free milk

This effort to buy locally was extended in the summer of 2007, when OHSU began hosting a weekly farmers market of fresh and organic local goods. The market runs from May through October of each year.

OHSU's green commitment can also be seen in the design and construction of its latest new buildings and conveyances.

The Center for Health & Healing in the South Waterfront was recognized with the award of a Platinum LEED. This makes it the first large medical building in the world to achieve this distinction. The building is 61 percent more energy efficient than required by Oregon code. Along with this building, OHSU's Biomedical Research Building, which houses some of the most advanced laboratories and research equipment in the world, was given LEED Silver certification. And in 2014, the new Collaborative Life Sciences Building was awarded LEED Platinum certification.