Environmental Excellence Awards applications

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Validate your hard work and continue making the business case for sustainable operations by participating in the Environmental Excellence Awards program, which is how Practice Greenhealth collects data to help hospitals measure their sustainability performance.

 

Partner facilities use the awards application and benchmark report results to:

 

Develop their sustainability baseline, benchmark and compare performance
Identify key areas of opportunity
Earn recognition for their sustainability program

Start an application today

Note: The 2022 applications contain no major content changes from 2021 and include COVID-related questions as the pandemic persists.

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Awards tools and resources 

Practice Greenhealth provides a range of tools and resources to support partners in sharing their performance.

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Introduction to Environmental Excellence Awards video

Watch the Introduction to the Environmental Excellence Awards recording to orient yourself to the application process or download the PDF of the presentation.

Categories of recognition

Practice Greenhealth offers individuals, health care facilities and/or health systems several environmental achievements opportunities.

Learn more about each level of recognition.

Award applications for different facility types (Application PDFs)

Practice Greenhealth benchmarks three categories of facilities—based on whether they have overnight (staffed) beds or operating rooms within the facility.

Applicants have access to PDF files of each application type including:

  • Facility type 1 (Facilities with overnight beds and operating rooms)
  • Facility type 2 (Inpatient facilities without operating rooms, such as long-term care, psychiatric, orthopedia, rehabilitation, and skilled nursing facilities)
  • Facility type 3 (Outpatient facilities that may or may not have operating rooms)

Blank versions of the 2022 Environmental Excellence Award applications are available below as PDFs to help department leads familiarize themselves with data gathering for the awards applications.

Please note: All applications must be submitted through the electronic awards platform. These PDFs cannot be used for submission.

Partner for Change

The Partner for Change application is comprehensive and is designed for health care facilities that have implemented a significant number of environmental programs, and who can demonstrate continuous improvement and expansion of these programs on the path to sustainability.

  • Must provide current year waste, energy, and water data as well as the number of staffed beds, operating rooms, and patient days.
  • Must demonstrate the breadth of the program. While some facilities have done outstanding work in one area, this application showcases facilities with a broad set of sustainability programs across different topic areas.
  • Facilities that fill out the Partner for Change application are eligible for a detailed gap analysis session, as well as a benchmark report card.

Download the PDFS of the 2022 Partner for Change Application

  • Facility type 1 (Facilities with overnight beds and operating rooms)
  • Facility type 2 (Inpatient facilities without operating rooms, such as long-term care, psychiatric, orthopedia, rehabilitation, and skilled nursing facilities)
  • Facility type 3 (Outpatient facilities that may or may not have operating rooms)

Greening OR

Building on Practice Greenhealth's Greening the OR™ Initiative, there are now several opportunities to be recognized for greening surgical services. Because the OR is a large contributor to a health care facility's environmental footprint, Practice Greenhealth is excited to recognize the environmental innovation occurring in surgical suites.

  • Both acute-care hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers are eligible and encouraged to apply for this recognition.
  • Applicants can apply for this award by filling out the Greening the OR page as part of their Partner for Change application, or by filling out the stand-alone Greening the OR application. You do not need to fill out both.

2022 Greening the OR Application


Making Medicine Mercury Free

The Making Medicine Mercury-Free application evaluates whether a facility has virtually eliminated mercury and has made a commitment to continue to be “mercury-free.” The facility must attach all requested policies and provide documentation to win the award. This award can only be won once.

  • The facility cannot win the mercury award if it is crushing its fluorescent lamps onsite.
  • Practice Greenhealth recognizes that there may be small amounts of mercury in the facility that cannot be eliminated at this time (such as mercury in fluorescent lamps), and that other mercury-containing items may be part of capital equipment (such as mercury in boiler switches and relays).
  • While these sources of mercury will not disqualify an applicant, there is an expectation that the facility can demonstrate that these sources of mercury are either labeled or being handled appropriately upon disposal. 
  • Likewise, there is an expectation that minor sources of mercury in the pharmacy or lab are identified and managed appropriately until they can be replaced.

2022 Making Medicine Mercury-Free Award Application


System for Change

The System for Change Award recognizes health systems that are working cohesively to set system-wide sustainability goals, track data, benchmark, and share successes in environmental performance.

  • All hospitals within the health system must be current Practice Greenhealth members in good standing – with a minimum of four facilities.
  • A minimum percentage of the health system’s facilities must apply using the Partner for Change applications and achieve recognition in the same award cycle in order for the health system to qualify for this award. The percentage varies by health system size – see below.
  • Hospitals within the system that do not submit an award application will still count toward the total facility count.
  • Awards eligibility: Health systems that fill out the System for Change application are eligible to win the System for Change Award.

2022 System for Change Award Application

Number of hospitals in the health system % of facilities that must win Partner for Change or above

4 - 6 facilities

100%

6 - 10 facilities 90%
11 - 25 facilities 70%
26 - 50 facilities 50%
51 - 70 facilities 40%
Over 70 facilities 30%

Application questions workbook

Practice Greenhealth makes an Excel workbook available with all the questions on the Partner for Change application, which can be used for internal data gathering.

View the resource

Scoring framework

Practice Greenhealth uses a number of criteria to evaluate Environmental Excellence Award applications in its efforts to recognize hospitals and health systems for their outstanding achievements. This overview of the scoring framework will help Practice Greenhealth partners understand how applications are evaluated.


This framework applies to the Partner for Change and Greening the OR application types – including all three facility types (hospitals with and without overnight beds and operating rooms) – and is comprised of four different mechanisms:

Auto Each question is assigned a points value. Points accrued per question are totaled per category to get the organization's auto score. Reviewers also have the ability to remove auto score points for irrelevant documentation, unrelated responses, or clearly erroneous data.

Metrics

Key metrics have been delineated across the different categories of the applications. Organizations receive a sliding scale score for their performance on these metrics.

Quality Each category of the application will receive a quality score based on how thoroughly questions are answered and initiatives are described. Appropriate documentation, completeness of metric data and responses, pictures, and policies all count toward the quality score.
Innovation Each applicant has the ability to earn an innovation point from the review team for outstanding and innovative responses to text questions or attachments/documentation. Innovation points are totaled per category.

Both of the above application types are evaluated based on a combination of these four scoring mechanisms. Award levels are determined based on final score thresholds along with a range of additional criteria for upper-level awards such as Circles of Excellence and Top 25.


For metrics scoring, Practice Greenhealth establishes a reference range (based on statistically significant data) against which it scores. Metrics may also be weighted within a category – meaning certain metrics are worth more metrics points than others.

Metrics

Below is an overview of the different metrics scored on the Partner Recognition and Partner for Change applications.

Chemicals

Chemicals

  • % Green spend on 5 categories of cleaning chemicals
  • % Spend on healthy interiors
  • % DEHP- and PCV-free product lines
  • % Green spend on mattresses*
  • % Spend on healthier flooring*
Procurement

Sustainable Procurement

  • Average % green spend in targeted procurement areas
Climate

Climate

  • Total renewable energy as a % of total energy use
  • % Change in energy-related scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions
  • % Change in greenhouse gas emissions from baseline year
Chemicals

Transportation

  • % Reduction in GHG emissions from owned fleet vehicles*
  • % Reduction in GHG emissions from leased fleet vehicles*
  • % Alternative fuel fleet vehicles
  • % New fleet vehicles using alternative fuel* 
  • % Top 10 distributors/suppliers that are EPA SmartWay partners*
  • % Reduction in SOV rate from baseline
Energy

Energy

  • Energy use intensity (EUI) in kBtus per square foot
  • % Change in EUI from baseline year ENERGY STAR score
  • % Offsite/purchased renewable energy
  • % Onsite renewable energy
Waste

Waste

  • % Recycling as a percent of total
  • % RMW as a percent of total
  • Tons of RMW per OR
  • Total waste lbs. per patient day
  • Total waste tons per OR
  • % C&D waste recycled 
Food

Food

  • % Change in meat use from baseline
  • % Change in greenhouse gas emissions from meat and poultry
  • % Sustainably-produced meat and poultry (by weight)
  • % Local food and beverage spend as a % of total spend
  • % Sustainable food and beverage spend as a % of total spend
Water

Water

  • Water use intensity in gallons per square foot
  • Water use intensity in gallons per cleanable square foot
  • Water use intensity in gallons per full-time employee (FTE)
  • Indoor water use in gallons per square foot
  • Indoor water use in gallons per cleanable square foot
  • % Change in water use from baseline year 
GOR

Greening the OR

  • % of OR kits types reviewed
  • Lbs. reprocessed devices per OR procedure
  • % of OR kits in reusable sterilization containers
  • % of ORs with HVAC setbacks
  • % Change in greenhouse gas emissions from anesthetic gases from baseline 
   

*This metric is unscored in the 2022 awards cycle.

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Frequently asked questions 

Please consult these questions below and/or reach out to your strategy manager for additional guidance.

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Do I have to be a partner to apply for an Environmental Excellence Award? 

Yes, you must be a partner in good standing to apply for or submit an Environmental Excellence award application. To check if your organization is already a partner of Practice Greenhealth, email join@practicegreenhealth.org or call 888-508-0198.

What is the deadline for completing the awards application?

The awards submission deadline is March 9, 2022, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PST.


No extensions will be granted. Please ensure all applications are submitted before the time on the appropriate day.

Are there any browser requirements to access the online awards portal or to complete the award application?

You may use all modern web browsers that meet standard security settings. Use this resource to check which browser you are using.

How do I log in to begin the application process?

  1. Go to awards.practicegreenhealth.org.
  2. To log in, click the “User Login” button in the upper right corner of the screen.
  3. Enter user name (primary email) and password, and you will arrive at your organizational dashboard.
  4. If you have forgotten your password, on the login page, click on the tab that says “Request New Password,” enter your current email address and then click “Email New Password.” You will then receive an email with a unique, one-time hyperlink that will allow you to confirm your email and set up your password. 
     

I see a message that says my email is not recognized as a username or an email address. What should I do?

There can be several reasons for this. Contact awards@practicegreenhealth.org or 888-378-2259. Our help desk will assist you in setting up an awards account. 

I logged in but now see a request for a 6-digit code. Now what?

As part of cybersecurity upgrades, the awards platform now utilizes multi-factor authentication to log on. All users will be required to enter the following information after their username and password:

  • Check your email for the 6-digit verification code and hit submit. You will then arrive at your organizational dashboard.
  • Click on any organization (an orange arrow should appear next to each facility) on your dashboard to get started.

I’m having trouble creating an account, who should I contact?

For assistance in setting up an awards account, please contact Chris Bodkin at 888-378-2259.

What is the first step once I am logged in to the account and see the dashboard?

  1. If you are a first-time applicant, before starting an application, the system will require you to click the “Verify Business Unit Type” button, select the appropriate type of facility, and click the “Save” button at the bottom.
  2. Then you will be returned to the dashboard screen. 
  3. Click on “Start a New Application” and select the appropriate application. 

Important: It may take a few minutes for the initial creation of a new application. Please be patient.

I am not seeing the dashboard view or login screen. Am I in the wrong place?

Please ensure you have the Practice Greenhealth online awards application portal url in your browser: https://awards.practicegreenhealth.org

Please do not confuse this with the main Practice Greenhealth website (practicegreenhealth.org/awards). 

How do I submit my application?

To submit an application, the first step you will need to take is to click the “Review This Application” button in the upper righthand corner (located above the application page).

This link will take you to the review page, which will cycle through each section of the application and let you know if you have:

  • Empty data fields
  • Validation errors (e.g. data entered in the wrong format)
  • Unusual or invalid numerical data (this can be an indication of improperly entered data)
  • Missing required data fields

Each of these can be checked by clicking on the corresponding question or page link. 


None of these warnings will prevent you from submitting the application except required fields, but do pay attention as you may lose points for not entering data or entering it correctly.

When all required fields have been entered, you will see a “Submit to Practice Greenhealth” button at the bottom of the screen. After clicking it, you will receive an email confirming your application has been received.

Note: Some health systems require affiliates to submit the application to corporate for review (Submit to Health System) before submission. Please be sure to Submit to Practice Greenhealth for final submission.

I want to invite other members of my team to add responses or data to the application. How do I do this?

Once you are logged in and on your dashboard, you can add additional users if you are an admin-level user. Additional users are typically departmental leads or topic experts that can assist you in completing one or more sections of the application. 

  1. Click the white “Add User” button.
  2. Enter the person’s name, title, phone, and email address.
  3. Then click the green “Add user” button.

This person will receive an email with directions for setting up a unique password so they can access the organizational dashboard and navigate the application. 

Important: You will need to tell them in advance what to expect and ask them to complete the questions or category pages that are in their area of expertise. For instance, a facility manager might be asked to click on the icon with the red plug (Energy) or blue raindrop (Water) in the navigation bar at the top of the page.

Can my vendor input data into the application?

Yes. Invite your vendor contact as a user using the directions above.

I collect all of my facility’s waste, water, and energy data using a dashboard provider. Are you able to import my data into the application?

Yes. Practice Greenhealth has already partnered with several sustainability dashboard providers to import data into award applications. Contact Lara Sutherland at lsutherland@practicegreenhealth.org for more information on setting up an import. We ask that you try and reach Lara before Jan. 15 if possible if you intend to use the import feature.

Our organization’s footprint changed this year because we added/removed a building. How should we handle this within the award application?

Campus scope is an important aspect of how Practice Greenhealth benchmarks data. It can depend on when the building went online/offline. We typically ask that revised square footage is noted in the energy/water square footage table. Reach out to your member engagement liaison as a starting point or contact awards technical assistance (awards@practicegreenhealth.org) for further clarification.

We have health system-level data but are having difficulty breaking it down to facility-level data. Can we just divide the total by the number of hospitals in the system?

No. This will not provide accurate data and can significantly affect benchmarking accuracy. If it is impossible to get facility-specific data, please work with Practice Greenhealth to assess whether there is an appropriate estimation protocol that can be used to estimate the allocation.

I am a Veterans Health Administration partner, who can answer my questions?

Start by reaching out to your VISN mentor or email VAsupport@practicegreenhealth.org. You may also contact Kaeleigh Sheehan at 888-450-7707 with inquiries. 

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