Green Hospital Scorecard FAQ

How do I participate in Green Hospital Scorecard?

To participate in this program, the environmental contact at your hospital must receive an invitation email with a survey link which will enable the hospital to submit their environmental data online.

If your hospital would like to participate in the Green Hospital Scorecard program, or if you have not received a survey link, please email

When can I complete the survey?

An open invitation to participate in 2022 GHS scorecard (collecting 2021 data) will be sent out March 2023. The survey will remain open until late spring 2023.

Email to join the data call announcement email list.

How can I get a copy of a previous Scorecard or find out if my hospital participated last year?

The representative that filled out the previous GHS survey should have a PDF copy of the scorecard, a PDF copy of the survey, or a link to view the completed survey online. If you would like to verify that your hospital has participated in the program, please email

What does the scorecard look like?

You can view a sample scorecard here.

How has the program changed from previous years?

Some minor revisions have made to survey questions based on feedback from participants.

The biggest change for the previous Green Hospital Scorecard was the addition of several new sections including Transportation, Food, Climate Change, and Energy Behavior. Also, there was an addition of a drop down menu with hospital titles and some revised questions.

For 2023, the Coalition revised the Climate Change and Transportation sections to include updated questions on climate resilience and battery-powered micro-mobility questions.

Similar to previous years, one general survey link will be sent to everyone; a unique URL to resume a saved survey will only be generated once the participant clicks SAVE. Hospitals with multiple sites should use the same link to open and save a survey for each site.

Can I get more help on navigating/saving/sharing/completing the survey?

The Coalition is hosting a free one-hour informational webinar on how to complete the upcoming survey. Register for the 2022 GHS Introductory webinar HERE.

A webinar recording along with presentation slides will be sent to all registrants and posted on our website.

Do I have to complete the survey in order?

No. You can use the circled numbers 1-12 at the top of the survey to navigate through the different sections at any time. Navigating to a different section will not cause other information to be lost.

Can I exit the survey and continue working on it later?

Yes. If you wish to exit the survey and return later, click SAVE at the bottom of any section. You will be prompted to enter an email address to which a link will be sent for resuming the survey. This link is unique to that survey and can be used to repeatedly access that survey, even after additional changes are made and saved. Each time you make changes and click SAVE, you will have the option to enter an email address to which a link will be sent. You may enter the same email address or a new one - the link generated will be the same and everyone who has this link will still be able to access the survey.

Can I share the survey so that others can add or edit information?

Yes. If you wish to share a survey, so that others may edit or add information, simply send/forward them the email with the link to your saved survey. There is no limit to how many people can access or edit a survey, but multiple users should not access the survey at the same time. Note that anyone with the unique link to your survey can view and edit any information that has already been saved.

Can I complete the survey in French?

Yes! We are currently translating the survey into French and are looking for participants to complete the new French submission and offer feedback. If you are interested in piloting the French survey, please email

What do I do if my hospital has multiple sites?

Hospitals with multiple sites should use the generic link to open and save a new survey for each site. The first question of the survey asks for the Hospital Site Name, which should be used to distinguish each site's survey. After submitting or saving and exiting from a survey, clicking on the original, generic link will open a new blank survey. The process can be repeated for each hospital site.

Can the Coalition view data submitted in previous years?

If you are a returning participant, the Coalition will only receive data collected in previous years if you checked the information release box on the 2016 survey. Access to this data allows GHS to benchmark your facility’s progress against previous years. For help with this, please contact

How will the Coalition handle data?

The Coalition will encrypt all data and store it on a secure server. The Coalition will never divulge or share your data or contact information or third parties without your permission.

Will I be able to view or edit my submitted survey?

Once you submit the survey, you will receive a shareable link that will allow you to view and save your submitted survey as a PDF. If you wish to make changes to your submitted survey, email

Who can view this year's submitted data?

With the exception of the Coalition, only individual hospitals can view their data. Data will be de-identified for reporting purposes. Each hospital will only be identified in their Individual Performance Reports. These reports will be sent privately to each hospital and highlight their performance against a backdrop of de-identified and aggregate data from other hospitals.

Can I start the survey and come back to it later?

Yes. To ensure that you can successfully return to your partially completed or completed survey, cookies in the internet browser need to be enabled. A partially completed survey is a survey where "Finish" was never clicked on the last page of the survey. A completed survey is a survey where "Finish" was clicked on the last page.

  • To exit a partially completed survey - once you are done entering the data on a particular page, click "Next" to move to the next survey page and then close the survey by exiting the browser.
  • To re-enter the survey, click on the survey link that was included in the invitation email originally sent to you on November 13, 2017. Re-entering a partially or fully completed survey consists of the following steps:
    • Re-entering a partially completed survey will take you back to the page that you were on when you exited the survey.
    • Re-entering a fully completed survey will take you to a page with the following message "You have already completed this survey. Click the Edit icon next to the response you wish to edit" Just below you will see 3 columns; the first column on the left has the "Edit" icon that will take you back to the survey. The other 2 columns have date stamps of when the survey was started and last completed. Each row represents a unique survey. For hospitals with one site, there will be only one row. For hospitals with multiple sites, there will be multiple rows.
There are sections that other departments will need to complete. Can I email it to them when I’m done my part?

Yes. If you send them your unique link, they will be able to see the survey and all the information that was populated.

Please see question above "Can I start the survey and come back to it later" for more information.

Why was the Green Hospital Scorecard created?

As part of the Green Hospital Champion Fund (GHCF) initiative, a committee comprised of hospital and environmental professionals was formed in 2011 to identify key indicators that reflect hospitals’ environmental performance with respect to their operations, management, and policy adoption. The committee proposed that these indicators should expand on the fundamental areas of Energy, Waste, and Water conservation by including measures of Corporate Leadership and Pollution Prevention.

The committee advised that establishing indicators were not enough and, in addition, a program would be needed to promote adoption of the indicators and foster competition among hospitals through performance benchmarking. With no existing program that met these requirements at the time, the committee advised the GHCF to proceed with the development of a program dedicated to Ontario's hospitals.  In 2013, the OHA launched the GHS program. In addition to helping hospitals report their energy use, water consumption and waste, the project also supports the hospital sector reporting under O. Reg. 397/11 by ensuring small and medium sized hospitals report accurate information to the Ministry and that hospitals have good information to develop robust Conservation Demand Management (CDM) plans. The Project is the only comprehensive healthcare benchmarking tool in Canada measuring energy conservation, water conservation, waste management and recycling, corporate commitment and pollution prevention.

Does the scorecard account for different climate zones?

The Green Hospital Scorecard currently does not take into account the different climate zones since a vast majority of participating sites are in Ontario. However, this is something that we are working on, given the increasingly national participation in the GHS.

What is the relationship between the Green Energy Act and the Green Hospital Scorecard?

The Green Hospital Scorecard is a voluntary program that benchmarks Ontario hospitals’ environmental performance, including measures in Energy, Waste and Water conservation, Corporate Leadership and Pollution Prevention. The Green Energy Act requires “public hospitals” to report energy consumption and prepare energy conservation and demand management plans. For more information, please see Green Energy Act.

The Green Hospital Scorecard collects similar data in the Energy area as the Green Energy Act. It collects previous year’s data, e.g. in 2013 it collected 2012 data, while the Green Energy Act collects data from two years before, e.g. in 2013 it collected 2011 data.

How can I suggest changes or give feedback?

You can provide feedback at any time by emailing your comments and suggestions to

What is meant by a hospital peer group?
  • Academic Hospitals – All acute general and paediatric hospitals that are members of the Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario (CAHO).
  • Community Hospitals – Acute care hospitals that do not fit the definition of a small or academic (teaching) hospital.
  • Non-Acute Hospitals – Complex continuing care (CCC), rehabilitation, and mental health hospitals. Have stand-alone CCC or rehabilitation beds. They may or may not be members of CAHO.
  • Small Hospitals – Have less than 3,500 weighted cases, a referral population of less than 20,000, and are the only hospital in the community.
What is Pollution Prevention in the Green Hospital Scorecard?

It is a concept that focuses on:

  • Selecting less toxic and more environmentally preferred materials for use within the hospital.
  • Considering the impacts of building construction on the environment and within the hospital.

It consists of:

  1. Environmentally Preferable Purchasing aims to reduce an organization’s environmental impact upstream through the purchase of products which have environmentally preferred qualities such as recycled content; recyclability; durability; fuel energy and/or water conservation; a non-hazardous nature; waste minimization; packaging consideration, etc. These qualities are often referred to as Environmental Purchasing Guidelines or Green Product Guidelines. These guidelines are a set of criteria, often targeting a specific product, that evaluate the product based on environmental considerations so that the most appropriate alternative can be selected. Environmental Purchasing/Green Product Guidelines should specify products and services that:
  •  Are considered more environmentally sound.
  •  Examine the supplier’s environmental management standards.
  •  Build environmental clauses into contracts.
  •  Rate supplier performance against environmental criteria.1
  1. Toxins Management aims to reduce the downstream impacts caused by managing materials, products and services within hospital that are considered toxic to human health and environment, as well as the disposal of special and toxic wastes. Examples of toxins management include ensuring that all hazardous substances have current Material Safety Data Sheets, providing appropriate education to those dealing with potentially hazardous substances to, where applicable, reducing the use of hazardous chemicals and materials. Some of the toxic materials include: mercury, PVC (vinyl plastic) and phthalates, brominated flame retardants, hazardous ingredients in cleaning products as well as pesticides. An example is eliminating mercury-containing medical devices in favour of safer non-mercury alternatives, or phasing out phthalate-containing PVC medical devices and switching to safer plastics.2 Resources that can assist with developing and updating policies and plans include:
  • Substances listed under Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

Additional Resources:

  1. Sustainable Construction/Renovation Practices aim to reduce the environmental impacts of hospitals through the selection and use of sustainable construction and renovation materials, and engagement of sustainable construction/renovation practices. An example is selecting less toxic and volatile organic compounds in building materials during new constructions or renovations.2

Government of Canada's Chemicals at a Glance.
Environment Canada's Management of Toxins Substances - provides information on toxic substances managed under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and related policies and plans, including the Chemicals Management Plan and the Toxic Substance Management Policy.
Health Care Without Harm Toxic Materials and Safer Chemicals.
Green Screen for Safer Chemicals Guidance and Method documents.
Sustainable Construction/Renovation Practices aim to reduce the environmental impacts of hospitals through the selection and use of sustainable construction and renovation materials, and engagement of sustainable construction/renovation practices. An example is selecting less toxic and volatile organic compounds in building materials during new constructions or renovations.2

What is meant by Policies, Targets and Action Plans?


The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) defines “environmental policy” as a statement by the organization of its intention on its overall environmental performance, setting out environmental objectives and targets, and providing a framework for action.  It can be standalone or incorporated into the organization’s overall mission or vision. A policy statement can also be referred to as Environmental Mandate, Environmental Commitment, Vision Statement, Mission Statement or Goals and Objectives.  An organization-wide policy or specific policy, like Environmentally Preferable Purchasing, encourages sustainable practices in the organization and helps ensure that green efforts do not fade with employee turnover. The organization’s environmental policy is used as a touchstone for the various initiatives including other policies such as Environmentally Preferable Purchasing, Toxins Management, Energy Conservation, Sustainable Construction/Renovation Practices, Water Conservation, Waste Management, etc.1

Organization-wide and specific policies should reference and support each other.

Organizations that have not invested in Pollution Prevention and Environmental Planning and Management activities might consider drafting an organization-wide environmental policy before looking at specific policies, targets and action plans. The development of environmental policy should consider the organization’s mission, vision and values, as well as integration with other existing policies and commitments.

Organizations that have invested in Pollution Prevention and Environmental Planning and Management activities but do not have an organization-wide or specific policy, might consider drafting one and making it official.

Drafting environmental policies and aligning them with an organization’s existing mission, vision, values as well as other existing policies and commitments allows the organization’s personnel to use these policies as a foundation for developing targets and action plans that are more meaningful to the organization.

Examples of hospital-wide environmental policies:

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
McGill University Health Centre
Environmental Policy Template for Health Care Facilities (US)


Examples of specific-policies:

Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy: Health Care Without Harm


Toxins Management Policy:

Mercy Hospital (US)
Duke University and Duke Medicine,  Occupational & Environmental Safety Office (US)


Sustainable Construction/Renovation Practices Policy:

Covenant Health Systems (US)



An Environmental Target is a detailed performance requirement that arises from environmental policies, and which needs to be set and met in order to achieve the policies’ various objectives. Setting realistic expectations is critical.1



  •   Environmental Preferable Purchasing: Reduce packaging waste by 20% by 2016, increase reusable products by 15% by 2017.
  •   Toxins Management: Establish inventory of toxic materials by 2017 or phthalate-containing PVC medical devices with safer plastics by 2017.
  •   Sustainable Construction/Renovation Practices: Implement green renovation procedures/guidelines by 2015



Action Plan

An action plan designates responsibilities for achieving targets. It defines the means and time-frame by which targets are achieved, which can include: training, processes, procedures and controls, measurement system, auditing protocols, review and revision of existing documentation. An essential point of an action plan is to say what will be done and by when.1


Example: To reduce packaging waste by 20% by 2016, sample of steps in Action Plan can include:

  • Establish a packaging waste baseline, June 2014, Waste Officer
  • Select and prioritize feasible products and suppliers, December 2014, Waste/ Purchasing/ Finance Officers, etc.
How can I obtain tonnage information for recycled items?

If your records do not include tonnage, your waste hauler can help you estimate tonnage.

Many recycling service providers do not provide exact weights for recyclable materials on invoices.

Alternatively, you can estimate the amount of weight that is being removed: contact your recycling hauler and confirm the size of the carts/bins they provide for each recyclable item you are separating from the waste stream (e.g. 64 gallon bins, 95 gallon, etc.). Ask them the average weight per full cart for each material group.

If you are being charged for service based on a price per bin, you can then calculate how many carts/bins are emptied per week and multiply them to reflect annual totals.

If you are paying a flat rate, ask the driver that services your site how many full bins of each material are emptied on average per week. Ask for this information in writing.

For example: you have 12-95 gallon carts full of mixed paper per week. The average weight per cart is estimated to be

110 kg. 110 kg x 12 carts per week x 52 week= 68,640 kg per year or 68.6 metric tonnes.

For front-end or rear-load cardboard bins (large metal outdoor containers), ask your hauler for an average weight per lift and multiply this number based on the how many lifts per year are completed. If your hospital has a compactor dedicated to cardboard, then the hauler can provide you with weights for each time that compactor is emptied.

Hospitals are encouraged to include a clause that specifies mandatory weight reporting per material group when tendering their upcoming waste and recycling contract.

Another method is to audit your recyclables by material group for a specific time period and then extrapolate this total to annual figures. For example, if your recycling is picked up once per week, after your next pickup when your bins are empty, begin your audit cycle. While the carts/bins are empty, get a weight for each bin type. Just before your pickup, weigh each material bin full, including the cart, and then remove the weight of the cart to obtain the weight of the contents. Once you have an average per material, you can count the number of full carts per material, or better yet, weigh them all. Extrapolate these numbers to reflect annual totals. You will need an electronic scale with a large sturdy platform to facilitate this process.

For more information on the regulatory side, you can review the Ontario Regulation 102/94: Waste Audits and Waste Reduction Work Plans.

What does Biomedical Waste include?

The Scorecard defines Biomedical Waste according to the "Guideline C-4: The Management of Biomedical Waste in Ontario"where “biomedical waste” means:

(a) human anatomical waste,

(b) human blood waste,

(c) animal anatomical waste,

(d) animal blood waste,

(e) microbiology laboratory waste,

(f) sharps waste,

(g) cytotoxic waste,

(h) waste that has come into contact with human blood waste that is infected or suspected of being infected with any infectious substance (human), or

(i) a waste containing or derived from one or more wastes described in clauses (a) through (h),


Biomedical waste does not include,

(j) domestic waste,

(k) treated biomedical waste,

(l) dialysis waste not saturated with blood or blood products that is tubing, filters, towels or disposable sheets







  1. Thompson, D., Tools For Environmental Management: A Practical Introduction and Guide, University of Calgary Press, 2002
  2. Health Care Without Harm, Hospital Policies, Accessed on May 20, 2014 at Health Care Without Harm