UW Health: Energy performance

Energy Performance
Energy Performance
Cumulative (vs. Baseline)22%
Annual (2019)0%

Better Buildings Challenge Partners strive to decrease portfolio-wide source energy use intensity (EUI) and to increase the percent improvement compared to a set baseline. UW Health's portfolio consists of 34 buildings and 4.7 million square feet. UW Health has improved energy performance by 22% from a 2013 baseline, achieving their initial Better Buildings Challenge goal within 5 years as opposed to 10, and UW Health has pledged to save an additional 14% from their 2013 baseline. Energy savings have been achieved through several retro-commissioning projects, upgrading to LED lights, energy efficient upgrades to HVAC systems, and an Energy & Water team that focuses on measuring, and benchmarking to identify opportunities across the portfolio.


Looking at the percent improvement in energy performance across all facilities can provide insight into how an organization is saving energy. UW Health has achieved energy performance improvements of greater than 2% at 18 of its properties, but there are still 7 properties that have experienced a performance improvement of less than 2% in Source EUI. These properties represent the top priorities for energy enhancements and retro-commissioning projects in the near future.


Property-level energy performance metrics, including EUI and percent improvement to date, are critical to track progress over time and identify opportunities for additional energy savings. UW Health's portfolio consists of a wide range of EUIs, mostly between 100 and 400 kBtu/sq. ft. The majority of properties have shown energy improvement since 2013, while the properties located near or below the 0% axis may present good opportunities for further savings.

Waste Diversion Rate and Absolute Waste

Better Buildings Waste Pilot cohort participants strive to reduce portfolio-wide waste intensity and absolute waste, as well as increase overall waste diversion. UW is working towards a 35% waste diversion rate goal and a 30% recycling rate goal. As of 2019, UW tracked waste at 4 facilities (Meriter Hospital, University Hospital combined with the American Family Children’s Hospital, and UW Health at the American Center) and achieved an overall waste diversion rate of approximately 34%. Being a health system, UW Health’s scope of waste covers more than just trash and recycling. Hazardous waste, hazardous pharmaceutical waste, non-hazardous pharmaceutical waste, red bag, and chemo waste are just a few of the streams the hospitals handle daily. In addition to employee engagement on proper sorting, the sustainability team is looking at opportunities to donate items, engage vendors to reduce packaging, and engage the pharmacy and safety departments. Since waste streams in healthcare are so complex and guided by stringent environmental regulations, UW Health's focus is on the "right items in the right bin." Outreach and education programs are helping staff understand what needs to be processed as hazardous waste and what is safe for municipal collections. Patient volumes also drive up waste, as more patients equate to higher volumes. Their current goal is based on benchmarking data from other healthcare systems as they navigate waste and recycling industry regulations as a sector.