UAB Hospital first in the nation to earn AGZA certification for its green practices

UAB Hospital has received the AGZA certification acknowledging its transition to greener practices that reduce noise and emissions.

AGZA StreamThe University of Alabama at Birmingham has electrified its landscape maintenance operations and has established UAB Hospital as the first American Green Zone Alliance-certified Green Zone in the nation. 

UAB Sustainability helped organize, fund and implement the certification in partnership with the UAB Facilities Division’s Grounds Department. The team will use cleaner, quieter tools for routine maintenance of the UAB Hospital’s outdoor spaces instead of the noisy gas-powered handheld tools, limiting unhealthy exhaust and carbon dioxide.

“The consideration of using battery-powered electric handheld tools had to meet three very critical criteria for me to consider their use: The equipment had to be able to maintain our production needs, it had to continue to provide quality results, and it had to be cost-effective,” said David Lovell, manager of the Grounds Department. “Battery-powered handheld equipment hit the mark on all three criteria. My staff is excited about the implementation of this equipment.” 

The new lawn equipment is much quieter and limits unhealthy exhaust and carbon dioxide emissions, creating a better environment for patients in UAB Hospital facilities. It also promotes better health for the Grounds Department team overall, reducing fuel spillage, non-recyclable waste and equipment vibration.

“UAB is a known leader in health care, research and education; our Green Zone certification cements our leadership in these fields while also illustrating we’re a leader in sustainability too,” said Nick Ciancio, sustainability coordinator.

Ciancio says the project will result in a reduction of noise and avoidance of 15 tons of unhealthy exhaust and 11 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, an amount equivalent to that absorbed by 10 percent of all UAB trees.

This project is another step in embedding health into all aspects of UAB’s campus culture, as dictated by the Okanagan Charter. UAB was the first university in the United States to adopt the Okanagan Charter and become an internationally recognized Health Promoting University. Created in June 2015, the Charter provides institutions with a common language, principles, and a vision for well-being in person, place and planet. UAB is a proud member of the U.S. Health Promoting Campuses Network, as well at the International Health Promoting Universities and Colleges.

The Green Zone certification project from the American Green Zone Alliance began in January of 2022.