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Sustainability

At NYU Langone Health, ensuring a healthy environment is central to our mission. Our sustainability program focuses on reducing our impact on the environment, increasing resiliency, being an anchor in our community, and advocating for sustainability and climate leadership.

We are committed to pursuing sustainable operating practices, greening our supply chain, reducing our waste footprint, increasing our resiliency in the face of climate change–driven weather events, and pursuing sustainable architectural and decarbonization goals.

We are dedicated to building a culture of sustainability at NYU Langone, and our commitment to sustainability extends across every facet of our organization. Large-scale efforts, such as energy and waste management, and sustainable architecture, are overseen by our Real Estate Development and Facilities team.

Our Sustainability Commitments

NYU Langone is a proud participant the New York City Carbon Challenge and has committed to a 50 percent carbon reduction goal by 2025. Since 2005, we have achieved a 38 percent reduction in carbon emissions for our fully owned portfolio and major sites, and are on track to meet our goal of 50 percent.

In 2019, we became the first and only New York City–based member of the Health Care Climate Council, a national leadership body of health systems committed to protect their patients and employees from the health impacts of climate change. This platform allows us to leverage our voice, alongside the other 19 health system participants, to drive innovative climate solutions as well as policy and market transformation. As part of the council, we also participate in the Health Care Climate Challenge.

We participate in Practice Greenhealth’s Healthier Hospitals: Safer Chemicals Challenge to reduce the use of chemicals in our furniture and cleaning product and to eliminate the use of mercury.

Learn more about our sustainability program components:

Sustainability Awards and Recognition

After Superstorm Sandy in 2012, NYU Langone began overhauling its infrastructure with an emphasis on resilience, energy efficiency, and green building design. Our Manhattan campus, located on the east side of Manhattan, and its buildings are the first in the world to receive the highest-level Platinum certification under both Performance Excellence in Electricity Renewal (PEER) and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) under the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

In 2018, our Manhattan campus achieved PEER Platinum certification recognizing its power system efficiency and energy reliability. The following year, the Helen L. and Martin S. Kimmel Pavilion and Science Building earned the highest Platinum level of USGBC’s LEED certification, an internationally recognized standard for innovative sustainable building design, construction, operations, and maintenance.

We have earned more than 45 energy and environmental excellence awards for our sustainability achievements. Most recently, we received the 2020 Circle of Excellence in Energy and Green Buildings, 2019 Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award, 2019 Greening the OR Awards from Practice Greenhealth; the 2019 Climate and Health Innovation Award from Healthcare Without Harm; the 2019 Leadership Award from USGBC. We were also honored with an Award for Excellence in Institutional Development from Urban Land Institute.

NYU Grossman School of Medicine is also an Achiever and First Mover in the New York State REV Campus Challenge for clean energy commitment.

Energy Management

To help us meet our sustainability goals, NYU Langone has invested heavily in building a best-in-class energy management program to serve our diverse building portfolio. Our team delivers reliable, efficient services to the institution to provide a superior healing environment for our patients, highly sensitive control for our researchers, and comfortable spaces for our visitors and staff.

NYU Langone is committed to planning for deep energy retrofitting and carbon reduction as New York City, New York State, and the nation respond to the need for moving to a low carbon future as a response to climate change. We continue to invest in upgraded infrastructure and smart building automation systems, and support these improvements with dedicated energy managers and facilities staff who keep us running at peak performance.

Our highly skilled technical staff and advisors forecast energy consumption and anticipate energy and market changes, find ways to safely cut electricity use during periods of peak demand, and continuously identify areas for energy conservation and operational improvements. Energy conservation measures include, but are not limited to, infrastructure upgrades, LED lighting retrofits, improved insulations, and occupancy setback programs.

We also have a computer and monitor power management program that reduces energy use during unoccupied hours in noncritical devices. This program incorporates customized schedules to optimize savings and saved roughly 4 million kilowatt hours in its first operational year.

Our energy engineers and operations managers work hand-in-hand with our architects and designers on construction projects, to ensure that new buildings benefit from the most efficient operating environments we can provide.

On NYU Langone’s Manhattan campus, the Energy Building houses a combined heat and power generation plant (CHP) that produces cleaner energy more economically. The CHP meets 60 percent of the NYU Langone Manhattan campus’ electricity requirements and 100 percent of its thermal requirements.

Green Buildings

The objective of NYU Langone’s sustainable architecture program is to consider holistically how we design, build, and operate facilities that foster superior healing environments. We embrace sustainability, resiliency, and energy master planning, and support preparedness that goes beyond industry standards in healthcare. We are committed to innovation in sustainable building practices, seek out LEED and other certifications where appropriate, and set high standards for indoor air quality and healthy interior spaces. We also emphasize incorporation of green spaces and low-impact development.

NYU Langone considers the following aspects of critical importance for our projects:

  • energy and water use
  • carbon footprint
  • healthy interiors and reduction in chemicals of concern
  • site selection and landscape
  • health and productivity
  • facades and daylight
  • construction and materials use
  • overall resource use

Learn more about NYU Langone’s design guidelines.

Responsible Purchasing and Waste Management

The resources we use carry with them a full life cycle: sourcing, use, and disposal. We strive to take the environmental impact of each of these steps into account when making purchasing decisions, and through reduction, reuse, and recycling of materials. Our goal is to develop strategies that identify environmentally preferable products and to expand our use of suppliers who are committed to environmental excellence.

NYU Langone’s source-separated recycling program diverts paper, cardboard, plastics, glass, and metals away from landfills. In addition, we recycle and repurpose more than 50 tons of electronic waste per year. We also have a robust hazardous and universal waste recycling program that collects everything from light bulbs to batteries to unused laboratory chemicals from across the institution.

Some examples of source reduction include NYU Langone’s reusable sharps container program that keeps more than 150,000 pounds of plastic waste out of the landfill each year. Where we have central sterile facilities, we also employ reusable rigid cases to replace one-time use blue-wrap for sterilized operating room instruments. In 2016, we took another big step forward in our sustainability effort when we implemented a closed loop reprocessing program for single-use devices in operating rooms and medical–surgical areas. We also eliminated more than 45,000 physician preference cards since 2017, which allows for more standardization of material use, which leads to less waste.

We’ve also moved to paperless registration in many facilities to reduce paper consumption.

Chemical Reduction

The healthcare sector recognizes that chemicals can play a role in disease development and environmental safety and NYU Langone has taken a lead in pursuing programs to help reduce chemical usage and exposure. We look at ways to reduce pharmaceutical waste, disinfectants, and conventional cleaning products. We’ve achieved virtual elimination of mercury-containing materials and instituted policies that focus on reduction of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), flame retardants, and other chemicals of concern in our interiors. The goal is to provide the safest and healthiest environment for our staff and patients.

We also participate in the Healthier Hospitals: Safer Chemicals Challenge to purchase at least 30 percent of all freestanding furniture and medical furnishings that are free of flame retardants, formaldehyde, perfluorinated compounds, PVC, and antimicrobials. In 2019, more than 75 percent of our furniture purchases meet that criteria at our Manhattan campus, NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital, NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn, and NYU Langone Hospital—Long Island.

Our housekeeping team works to improve our cleaning practices. In 2019, hand hygiene products with triclosan has been eliminated. The team uses microfiber cloths, and cleaners certified by Green Seal; and identifies areas where the use of disinfectants can be minimized or eliminated. To maintain many of our floors, we rely on automatic scrubbing machines that employ ionized water, rather than additional chemicals, to achieve necessary disinfection levels. And we use vacuums certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval/Green Label program.

We have also employed an integrative pest management (IPM) program at many of our sites and continue to grow this beneficial practice. IPM is an effective and environmentally conscious approach that relies on proactive, preventive, knowledge-based, and low-risk methods that minimize the use of pesticides.

Water Management

Water is a precious global resource that must be protected and used efficiently. At NYU Langone, our objective is to fully understand and analyze our water footprint across all properties, and employ innovative, effective water efficiency and conservation measures, projects, and technologies. We have already driven down water usage, in pursuit of a goal to reach reductions of 35 percent by 2025 for our hospital facilities. One of our medical office buildings was recognized with first place for water reduction in its category in the 2015 EPA Energy Star National Building Competition; and NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital was No. 1 for reduction in hospitals in 2016 in the same competition.

Our LEED-certified building projects incorporate green infrastructure, water-efficient fixtures and machines, and water-reducing operating strategies. And we are incorporating other green infrastructure, such as green and blue roofs, to help manage storm water runoff and protect New York City’s waterways.

Healthy Food Choices

Healthy eating plays an integral role in wellness and the healing process. NYU Langone is committed to providing the healthiest and freshest food options to our patients, employees, students, and visitors. We work to enhance the taste and nutritional content of our patient meals, and whenever possible to serve local, seasonal, and chemical- and hormone-free foods. Knowing the negative environmental impact of meat production and the rise in antibiotic resistance diseases, NYU Langone has a focus on moving toward the use of antibiotic-free poultry and meats and more plant-based recipes.

Our kitchens do not use fryers, which eliminates cooking oil waste and produces healthier choices for patients and employees. Our popular pop-up market tables in the Tisch Café provide farm-fresh meal options that highlight in-season foods, showing visitors how they can also focus on these healthy items when they cook at home.

NYU Langone has also partnered with Local Roots NYC to offer a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program to employees, staff, and students each week throughout the year. It is a convenient way for our employees to be connected with fresh, sustainably grown foods, and to support the local food economy.

To encourage sustainable behavior in our cafes, guests and staff who bring a reusable mug receive a discount on their self-serve coffee and tea purchases.

Transportation

We are proud to support a bicycle-friendly workplace for our staff, faculty, and students through an institutional policy that supports indoor and outdoor commuter bike parking stations and showers.

In addition, in 2016, NYU Langone joined the U.S. Department of Energy’s Workplace Charging Challenge to increase the convenience and affordability of driving electric for our employees, patients, and visitors. More than 20 stations have been installed in both public and employee parking lots near our hospital campuses, and NYU Langone is committed to expanding this program to make plug-in electric vehicle drivers feel confident in being able to get where they need to go.

Community Engagement

Our sustainability program is a collaborative effort between individuals and departments who are working toward greener operations. NYU Langone hosts annual Earth Day events to showcase the institution’s programs and empower staff to practice sustainable thinking in their role. We share our programs and successes to visitors and patients on digital screens and on our Kimmel Pavilion MyWall system.

Sustainability and Healthcare Database

Health and environmental sustainability are fundamentally connected and are essential for the livelihood of our communities. NYU Langone and NYU researchers have recognized this connection and have led by example through their academic studies on this topic. Our Sustainability and Healthcare Database compiles their publications on the intersection of public health, sustainability, pollution, and climate change.

Contact Us

If you have questions or want to learn more about NYU Langone’s commitment to sustainability, please email us at sustainability@nyulangone.org.