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St. Cloud VA Health Care System



April 17, 2018

In recognition for continuing achievement and innovation in health care sustainability, the St. Cloud VA Health Care System recently received the Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award from Practice Greenhealth, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to environmental sustainability in health care. The award is one of the Environmental Excellence Awards given each year to honor environmental achievements in the health care sector.

This is the third straight year that the St. Cloud VA has earned the Top 25 distinction.

The 25 hospitals presented with Practice Greenhealth's highest honors exemplify environmental excellence and are setting the highest standards for environmental practices in health care. Award winners are leading the industry with innovation in sustainability—and have the data and documentation to prove their success. Each year, the competition for these top spots increases as hospitals across the country continue to innovate.

“Our employees and teams are dedicated to fully integrating Lean management and green thinking into our culture,” said St. Cloud VA Director Stephen D. Black. “Our employees prioritize these concepts in day-to-day operations with a passionate commitment to stewardship and sustainability, and this award is recognition of their engagement and success.”  

Recycling, waste reduction, organics composting, paper conservation, green purchasing, laundry water reuse, LED lighting, renewable energy systems, electric utility vehicles, use of green space for healthy activities, LEED and Green Globe Certified buildings, all demonstrate the St. Cloud VA’s commitment to environmental excellence, and its dedication to continuous improvement, systematically achieving incremental changes in processes to improve efficiency and quality.

“All of our sustainability projects lead to operational costs savings and makes additional resources available for Veteran care,” said Black.

Award winners are chosen among hospital applicants that have the highest scores on the Greenhealth Partner for Change application. Each year, the competition for these top spots increases, as a growing number of facilities are implementing creative, sustainable and implementable practices. 

St. Cloud VA Earns Numerous Circle of Excellence Awards

The St. Cloud VA also was recognized in six out of 10 categories with Circle of Excellence Awards, which celebrate sustainability programs that excel in a given category (in contrast to awards given for overall achievement).

These awards highlight hospitals that are pushing the envelope and driving innovation in sustainability performance in each sustainability category. There can be up to 10 designees selected for each Circle of Excellence category.

The St. Cloud VA received Circle of Excellence honors in the following categories:

• Leadership: This category honors hospitals demonstrating excellence in supporting a long-term commitment to healthier environments through committee structure, reporting, data tracking, communication and education.

• Greening the OR: This category honors hospitals for leadership in implementation and innovation in the surgical department. Winners have demonstrated innovative approaches to waste minimization, clinical plastic recycling, reformulation of operating room kits, single-use device reprocessing, use of reusable sterilization cases, and a range of other programs and associated metrics

• Energy: This category celebrates hospitals that are leading the sector in energy efficiency and strategic energy use planning. Leaders generally have energy managers and written programs to reduce energy use over time. They are tracking energy use intensity and ENERGY STAR performance metrics and sharing details on comprehensive project implementation and staff engagement strategies.

• Water: This category recognizes hospitals for exemplary programs in water conservation and efficiency. These early adopters boast fewer gallons of water consumption per square foot, tracking of implemented conservation projects, written plans to reduce water consumption over time and have water-tracking mechanisms in place.

• Climate: This category highlights visionary hospitals taking the lead on tracking and measuring carbon emissions and developing overall climate programs. Winning hospitals demonstrate an understanding of the health impacts of climate change and are acting to mitigate those impacts and educate their staff and communities on playing a supporting role.

• Green Building: This category is presented to hospitals that have demonstrated LEED and other green building achievements over the past five years. These hospitals emphasize policies that show a commitment to or even requirement of LEED-level construction standards for all major new builds or renovations. Their achievements include energy and water efficiency, safer materials, regional sourcing, integration of nature and other mechanisms to create high-performance healing environments.

About Practice Greenhealth
Practice Greenhealth is the nation’s leading health care membership community whose mission is to transform health care worldwide so that it reduces its environmental footprint, becomes a community anchor for sustainability and is a leader in the global movement for environmental health and justice. To learn more about Practice Greenhealth visit: