LiveGreen: Med center receives Better Buildings Award

UNMC and Nebraska Medicine have been awarded the 2021 Better Buildings Goal Achiever Award. Better Buildings is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Energy designed to help drive leadership in energy innovation. Better Buildings Goal Achievers are leaders in energy efficiency and stand as an example for their peers in the public and private sectors as organizations who have met their sustainability commitment(s) within 10 years.

In 2016, the med center committed 6.8 million square feet of building space to the Better Buildings challenge. As part of the challenge, the med center committed to a goal of 20% reduction in water use intensity by 2022. This year, that goal was exceeded, with a 23% annual reduction in water consumption.

This was achieved by:

  • Replacing non-recirculating cooling systems on freezers, MRI, and electron microscopes.
  • Repairing faucet aerators and switching to high-efficiency faucets.
  • Installing high efficiency toilets and urinals.
  • Updating water fountains with bottle refill stations.
  • Improving cooling tower efficiency.

Along with the med center’s commitments to the Better Buildings challenge and goals, it has committed to achieving a number of other sustainability goals by 2030. These include becoming carbon neutral (net zero emissions), achieving zero waste and using less water than what falls on the Omaha campus yearly during average rainfall (currently 104 million gallons). Check out the progress and projects being implemented to achieve these goals.

By pursuing the 2030 goals and being a part of programs like the Better Buildings Challenge, the med center is striving to have a positive impact on the planet and therefore creating a healthier environment for all people to live and thrive. Everyone’s actions on campus help to achieve these goals. Here are some simple ways you can help each day at work or at home.