UW Health increases sustainability efforts amid budget cuts

Saving $400,000 through environmental initiatives

UW Health cuts costs by cutting energy bills

MADISON, Wis. - UW Health, a major Madison-area health provider, has been increasing its sustainability efforts as it's facing cuts all around the organization.

In November, UW Health said it planned to cut $80 million from its annual budget, which involves layoffs, managing overtime and not filling open positions.

The UW Health network serves more than 600,000 patients each year, a number that grows annually. But despite the growing numbers of patients, the hospital system is trying to decrease its environmental footprint. The environmental initiatives are saving the hospital and clinics more than $400,000 each year.

"We're improved our performance energy-wise by 18 percent since 2013, despite growing significantly," said Max Christman, UW Health's sustainability specialist. "That saves millions of dollars and reduces our environmental footprint by around 20,000 metric tons, which is the equivalent to taking 4,000 cars off the road."

The organization is also increasing sustainability by recycling vial caps, pens, electronics, metals, cardboard and Styrofoam.

UW Health is cutting down on its usage of anesthetic gases that contribute to climate change, reducing its annual anesthetic agent emissions and saving on operating room lighting by using efficient LED surgical light bulbs.

"We're able to generate revenue through our recycling stream. We really actively pursue the collection of those," Christman said. "And on the savings side, you got the energy initiatives, using less anesthesia gas, still keeping them asleep but not overusing it."

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