​​​Board announcing UHN as the 2014 winner of Smart Commute Employer of the Year award
Board announcing UHN as the 2014 winner of Smart Commute Employer of the Year award

It's not easy being green but the people of University Health Network are making it look that way.

UHN has won the Smart Commute Employer of the Year award for sustainable transportation, a competition amongst workplaces across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).

It's just the latest in a string of green awards for UHN.

UHN took top honours among Toronto employers at  Wednesday night's ceremony for making the goal of easing traffic gridlock part of the "corporate culture," Smart Commute, a program of the regional transit body Metrolinx and the municipalities in the GTHA, said in a news release.

"As part of the healthcare industry, UHN is very interested in the focus on the link between environment and health," the news release added. "Active transportation choices are encouraged."

The award recognizes the sustainable transportation choices of UHN staff, including:

  • 2,644 staff members in TTC VIP
  • 1,172 UHN bicycle parking spaces
  • 800 Bicycle User Group members
  • Online carpool matching tool links staff to share a ride
  • UHN-operated shuttlebuses connect staff and patients between sites​
  • About 3,200 annual consultations between rural patients and UHN specialists via Telehealth, reducing the need for transportation to medical appointments.

Public transportation, cycling, walking and carpooling all reduce the number of single occupancy vehicles and greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition to the Smart Commute honours, the recent Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) HealthAchieve Conference saw UHN pick up even more hardware.

Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) HealthAchieve Conference
L to R: Ed Rubinstein, Lisa Vanlint, Kady Cowan, Adeline Cohen and Stewart Dankner celebrate three Green Healthcare wins for UHN at the recent Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) HealthAchieve Conference. The awards are: Energy Winner's Circle, Waste Reduction and Green Hospital Finalist.

UHN became the first hospital to be inducted into the Energy Efficiency Winner's Circle.  This award recognizes UHN as a leader to all Ontario hospitals in energy conservation, efficiency and management over the years.

Operation TLC has helped staff turn off lights and computers when not in use, and UHN has reduced building energy use by installing more efficient equipment. The is doubly beneficial – environmentally and economically as utility bills are lowered by about $1 million a year.

UHN received the OHA Waste Management Award, recognizing efforts in the 3Rs: Reducing, Reusing & Recycling. Though just 20 votes shy of the Green Hospital of the Year award, UHN was acknowledged as a finalist. On the upside, it is a great honour to be nominated and something to strive for next year.

This green sweep is possible because UHN invests the resources and spirit to make it so. The Energy &​ Environment department, powered by the enthusiasm of over 600 green​ team members, works across sites and silos to achieve patient and planet-centred care. That is definitely something to cheer about. 

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