Award levels


Each year, Practice Greenhealth recognizes an array of health care organizations for their environmental achievements. Outlined below are the different categories of recognition a health care facility or health system can win.

Top 25

The Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award is Practice Greenhealth’s highest honor for hospitals. These hospitals are leading the industry with innovation in sustainability, demonstrating superior programs, and illustrating how sustainability is a core part of their culture.

Circles of Excellence

The Circles of Excellence recognize up to 10 of the highest performing hospitals for each individual category of environmental performance including Leadership, Waste, Chemicals, Greening the OR, Food, Environmentally Preferable Purchasing, Energy, Water, Climate, Green Building. Winners are selected based on the highest scores within that category while also meeting a set of threshold criteria. Learn more about each Circle of Excellence.

Visionary Leader

The Visionary Leader Award recognizes a senior-level health care executive with extraordinary vision who has made significant contributions to health care sustainability through groundbreaking and innovative strategies and mentorship.

Greening the OR Leadership

The Greening the OR Leadership Award recognizes one facility demonstrating the most success in reducing the environmental impact of its surgical suites. Operating rooms are large contributors to a health care facility’s environmental footprint, creating an opportunity for significant cost savings and sustainability improvements.

Greenhealth Emerald 

The Greenhealth Emerald Award recognizes the top 20% of the highest-scoring applicants that are setting the standard in reducing waste, addressing chemicals of concern, tackling sustainable procurement and are achieving significant successes in a range of other programmatic areas. Winning hospitals have demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainability and shown leadership in the local community and in the health care sector.

Partner for Change

The Partner for Change Award recognizes health care facilities that continuously improve and expand upon programs to eliminate mercury, reduce and recycle waste, source products sustainably, and more. Winning facilities must demonstrate that they are recycling at least 15% of their total waste, have reduced regulated medical waste, are on track to eliminate mercury, and have developed successful sustainability programs in many areas.

Partner Recognition

This award is given to health care facilities that are changing their practices to become more sustainable and have achieved progress in areas such as waste reduction, renewable energy adoption, food purchasing, and mercury elimination. They also must have a recycling rate of at least 10% for their entire waste stream.

Greening the OR Recognition

This award recognizes the top 20% of the highest-scoring applicants for the Greening the OR category. Winners must have made substantial progress in reducing the impact of the surgical environment, have a clinical champion supporting the work, and also meet metric and quality score thresholds.

Making Medicine Mercury-Free

This one-time award is given to health care facilities that have virtually eliminated mercury and have policies in place to prevent it from re-entering the facility. Award criteria include strong mercury-free purchasing policies and management practices, staff education, and a commitment to continuing to be mercury-free. 

System for Change

The System for Change Award recognizes health systems that are working cohesively and across hospitals and facilities to set and meet goals related to sustainability, from reducing energy use to increasing recycling to establishing green building practices. System for Change Award winners have at least four acute-care hospitals and have demonstrated substantive and effective strategies for improving environmental performance among a core percentage of your facilities.

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Practice Greenhealth is the health care sector’s go-to source for information, tools, data, resources, and expert technical support on sustainability initiatives that help hospitals and health systems meet their health, financial, and community goals.

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