UC San Francisco Health continued its legacy of sustainable operations excellence, receiving recognition from Practice Greenhealth for the 14th consecutive year.

UCSF Health was awarded the Emerald Award for overall sustainability practices, the special Circle of Excellence award for achievements in energy, climate and green buildings, as well as the Greening the OR Recognition award.  

Read More about Sustainability at UC San Francisco Health

UCSF Health began its decarbonization study to determine how to achieve a 90% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2045. As part of that effort, its new hospital in Parnassus Heights, along with a new outpatient surgery center, will be heated and cooled with 100% all-electric systems and powered by 100% carbon-free electricity. In addition, UCSF Health created a multiyear plan for saving energy and reducing GHG emissions in operating rooms by migrating leaky central nitrous oxide supply to local supply in all 71 ORs.      

UCSF Health is a leader in reducing scope 1 emissions from inhaled anesthetics. In addition to reducing emissions of inhaled anesthetics like desflurane by 83%, which is equivalent to removing 219 cars from the road, UCSF Health facilitated emissions reductions from inhaled anesthetics at other UC academic health centers through a UC Global Climate Leadership Council-funded project.         

In partnership with UC Health, UCSF Health continued its efforts to fulfill commitments in the White House/HHS Health Sector Climate Pledge to reduce GHGs by 50% by 2030, create a climate resilience plan to protect people, assets and services, and complete a baseline scope 3 emissions assessment.      

Additional sustainability efforts were realized with sustainable food and waste reduction. The food program continued to reduce GHGs through food purchases and received recognition for sustainable food excellence with the rest of UC Health. UCSF Health’s waste auditing program expanded from the three San Francisco hospital campuses to include a large ambulatory care center. Additionally, a mobile technology platform audited waste diversion, providing feedback on waste reduction and diversion opportunities. To help build awareness, the Waste to Art challenge is dedicated to turning waste into art. Its 2023 event led to 15 submissions about the waste created by the health care industry.


Student looking at a piece of artwork

Waste to Art

First introduced in 2022, the Waste to Art program provides staff an opportunity to showcase their artistic talents while shedding light on the large amount of waste produced by the health care industry.

Medical staff working with nitrous oxide

UCSF Health System’s Sustainability Journey: Pioneering New Practices To Minimize Nitrous Oxide Emissions

Commonly known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is more harmful to the ozone than any other gas. This story follows UCSF Medical Director of Sustainability Dr. Seema Gandhi as she takes on the ambitious challenge of removing central piped nitrous oxide from UCSF Health’s facilities.


A line graph depicts energy use intensity over time. The energy use intensity at UCSF Health in 2022 of 205.33 was above the annual target of 195.96.

Calendar Year
EUI (kBtu/Sqft)

UCSF Health saw a minor decrease in its EUI in 2022.


Assortment of colorful fruits and vegetables

of food and beverage purchases met sustainability criteria ($1.0M)


of food and beverage purchases were plant-based ($3.2M)

UCSF Health improved the percentage of sustainable and plant-based foods procured compared with the prior reporting year. For the second year, the team used Key Green Solutions as a data aggregation and reporting service for food. UC Health food leaders met to work on standardizing food data reporting for each campus with the goal of aggregating the data. UC Health, including UCSF Health, was also recognized with a Circle of Excellence Food award from Practice Greenhealth. 

Green building

UCSF’s Ambulatory Care Center 2 Spine Center was LEED certified for Interior Design and Construction this year.

2 Gold, 4 Silver, 1 Certified

Total number of LEED certifications


A bar graph depicts water use. In fiscal year 2023, UCSF Health used 230 gallons per person which is above the 2025 goal of a 36% reduction from the baseline of 219 gallons per person.

Fiscal Year
Gallons per capita

*Based on a 3-year average of fiscal years 2005-08

**2025 goal is a 36% reduction from baseline

UCSF Health is in the process of designing a new hospital in Parnassus Heights, which will include numerous water reduction strategies, including using air handler condensate water for irrigation and minimizing use of cooling towers by relying on heat recovery chillers. In its existing hospitals, UCSF Health made progress this year on reducing cooling tower dependence and has plans to pursue low-flow water fixture retrofits in all spaces.


A stacked bar graph depicts waste generated over time. In fiscal year 2023, UCSF Health generated 21.91 pounds per person per day of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), 9.45 pounds per person per day of Recycling, 2.9 pounds per person per day of Compost, 2.67 pounds per person per day of Regulated Medical Waste.

Fiscal Year

*Per capita figures are calculated using Adjusted Patient Day (APD)

**Data provided if not counted in other waste streams

UCSF Health developed a comprehensive action plan to reduce waste in line with UC Health goals.


UCSF Health was the proud recipient of many Practice Greenhealth awards in 2023.

A full list of awards is featured on the UC Office of the President’s website.

Combined Data

Progress on the following policy areas for this Health System is reported by the campus location: