The University of California is committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2025, and UCLA Health is committed to doing its part to help achieve this goal. Climate change is expected to adversely impact the health of our patients in a variety of ways including heat-related illness, cardiovascular and respiratory complications, vector-borne disease, and mental health. UCLA’s sustainability master plan makes climate resilience planning a priority, and in 2020, all UC campuses and health systems engaged their key stakeholders in this planning process. As an anchor institution in the community, we recognize our responsibility to evaluate more than just our carbon footprint. We need to understand how climate change will affect the communities we serve and work with them on mitigation and adaptation programs.
Clean Power Alliance
Since May 2019, our Santa Monica hospital campus has been purchasing 100% renewable electricity through the Clean Power Alliance. This program is important because it incentivizes the greening of our grid through community clean energy programs. We are proud to be part of the Green Leaders program and hope other businesses will follow in our footsteps.
Our energy efficiency program was implemented in 2015, and through the leadership of our facilities team we have seen a 22% decrease in carbon emissions at our Santa Monica and Ronald Reagan campuses. These two facilities are the largest in our portfolio, and we are working on incorporating the rest of our clinics and buildings into the scope of our footprint.
UCLA Transportation has a goal to equip 2% of our parking spaces with electric-vehicle charging stations. So far, we’ve achieved ~1.5% and our stretch goal is to achieve beyond 4%. Additionally, by 2025 we expect our staff and patient transport fleet to be fully electric. We offer staff shuttles between our facilities to encourage ridesharing. To encourage healthier modes of transportation, we provide bike parking and encourage our staff to participate in UCLA’s Earn-A-Bike program, where staff can trade in their parking pass for a $450 bike package.
The Health Care Climate Council is a leadership body of health systems committed to protecting their patients and staff from the health impacts of climate change and becoming anchors for resilient communities. The hospitals within the UC Health System are all members, and UCLA Health participates monthly to drive the transformation to climate-smart healthcare. The council is focused on three pillars for action:
- Mitigation: reducing the carbon footprint of health care delivery and using the leverage of supply chains to drive market transformation to a low-carbon economy.
- Resilience: preparing for the impacts of climate change by building resilient hospitals that serve as anchors for healthy, sustainable communities.
- Leadership: acting as critical messengers for communicating the health impacts of climate change and advocating for climate-smart policies at all levels of government.
For more information, visit the Healthcare Climate Council.