Environmental Excellence data guidance

Advice and tips for awards application

Practice Greenhealth has been collecting sustainability performance data from hospitals and health systems for over 20 years. As sustainability expectations have evolved, Practice Greenhealth has continued to refine the data and metrics we utilize to measure progress and benchmark performance. Below are some helpful tips to help ensure you are collecting and providing data in the correct format – which supports your scores on the application and better trend analysis for the sector.

Before starting your application, be sure to review our advice and five tips for success below.

1. Order of magnitude

Practice Greenhealth collects baseline, previous, and current year data in many parts of the application to measure progress over time. A common data error is when a facility enters data points an order of magnitude off from year to year (such as 1500 tons of solid waste in baseline year and 52 tons in current or previous year). Please ensure that baseline-previous-current year questions all reflect the same campus scope or footprint. If the data has indeed changed drastically from year to year, please ensure the rationale for significant differences in the comment box associated with the question or data table.

2. Selecting units

There are many places on the awards application where you must select units of measure for a data point. A common data error is when facilities do not select a unit (which prevents automated calculations from occurring) or selects the wrong unit in a particular year or all years (typically flagged by outlier warnings). If you are selecting different units year to year, please ensure this is a conscious decision based on an operational or billing change.

  • You must select a unit for calculations to work effectively.
  • Be sure to select the correct unit.
3. Key stakeholders

When filling out an Environmental Excellence awards application, engaging the correct internal and external stakeholders is very important. See the table below for a list of potential stakeholders for each impact area. Opening lines of communication with people who have the necessary information will make filling out the application much easier. It will also help to build accountability across the organization.

Profile Administration, human resources
Leadership Sustainability leader, C-suite/executive leadership team, clinical champions, human resources, community health/benefit
Waste Environmental services (EVS), safety, pharmacy, food service
Chemicals Environmental services (EVS), supply chain, sterile processing, design and construction, environmental health and safety (EHS), laboratory
Greening the OR Perioperative services, OR clinical staff, supply chain, environmental services (EVS), pharmacy and anesthesia, sterile processing, facilities
Food Food and nutrition services, contracted food service leaders, environmental services (EVS), community health/benefit, clinical champions, and marketing and education
Sustainable Procurement Supply chain, materials management, value analysis
Energy Facilities, energy manager, design and construction
Water Facilities, grounds crew, design and construction
Climate Facilities, energy manager, supply chain, fleet management, anesthesia/pharmacy, food services, environmental services (EVS), C-suite/executive leadership team, human resources, community health/benefit
Transportation Fleet management, supply chain, community health/benefit, human resources
Green Building Facilities, design and construction, supply chain, environmental services (EVS)


4. System numbers versus facility-level number

Many hospitals are part of a health system. It is important to be able to provide facility-specific data on the Environmental Excellence awards application. If you are unable to break down system data to the facility level, please connect with awards technical support for guidance on appropriate estimation protocols or normalizers.

5. Impact data 

Any impact data the facility can share with Practice Greenhealth is incredibly valuable – financial, health, environmental – or intangibles such as recruitment, retention, or staff engagement. This data helps Practice Greenhealth build out and substantiate the business case for how this work continues to benefit health care organizations.

Learn more about data quality by impact area

Consult the following pages for specific guidance and tips for success.


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