The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) joins 100+ health care organizations nationwide in pledging to take action to decarbonize the health care sector and make their facilities more resilient to the effects of climate change.
In taking the White House/Department of Health and Human Services Health Sector Climate Pledge, UAMS formally has committed to pursuing the goal of reducing emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The university is already on the way to achieving that with a $150 million energy project, which has and will continue to reduce carbon emissions by reducing energy use. The project launched in November 2019 and is now progressing into its final phase.
There were 102 prominent health care organizations and companies in the U.S. to sign the pledge, including partners representing 837 hospitals as well as leading health centers, suppliers, insurance companies, group purchasing organizations, pharmaceutical companies and more. Federal health care systems combining efforts with these organizations means that more than 1,080 federal and private sector hospitals have made such commitments, together representing more than 15% of U.S. hospitals.
In October 2021, the university finished the construction of a $50 million electrical power plant on the east side of its Little Rock campus, a key part of the energy project.
As part of the project, UAMS also has upgraded campus building control systems, interior and exterior lighting and electrical and mechanical systems. Workers retrofitted the entire campus with new, energy-efficient LED lighting. The electrical systems in some buildings were original to their 1950s-era construction.
“The work of pulling those technologies from the mid-20th century and into the early 21st isn’t over though,” said Christina Clark, MBA, UAMS chief operating officer and vice chancellor for Institutional Support Services. A study is underway to examine the feasibility of using solar power and where UAMS might deploy it.
Clark said UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA “wants us to be the most sustainable academic medical center in the United States. We have a big job to do, and this pledge is another demonstration our commitment to doing it.”