The U.S. healthcare system contributes 10% of the nation’s carbon emissions and 9% of harmful non-greenhouse air pollutants, and the industry continues to grow. Better Buildings Healthcare sector partners represent 700 million square feet of space, collectively saving $340 million since 2011. These leading healthcare organizations are developing strategic cost reduction programs to improve the environment of care for patients, employees, and their communities.

Get Involved

There are many different ways to work with DOE through the Better Buildings Initiative. Explore our partnerships to find the best fit for your organization, whether your focus is energy, water, waste, or carbon.

COVID-19 Resource Center

Dealing with COVID-19 presents an unprecedented scenario for building owners, plant managers, and employees. Better Buildings has collected resources from partners, affiliates, and other organizations that may prove useful.

2022 Better Buildings Progress Report

To date, the 900+ Better Buildings partners have saved more than 2.5 quadrillion Btus, saving more than $15 billion and 155 million tons of CO2.

Featured Solutions

DaVita Kidney Care leveraged virtual power purchase agreements (VPPAs) to achieve 100% renewable energy throughout its U.S. operations via the construction of both wind and solar farms in Texas.
The document provides insights and best practices for telehealth, including carbon reduction, space utilization, equitable access, and technology.
Healthcare Realty partnered with a renewable energy advisor to establish its solar program, including a carport array, and make progress towards its energy and GHG emissions reduction goals; all of the projects in the pipeline will be financed through third-party ownership, via power purchase agreements or through a feed-in-tariff program.
Erie VA Medical Center (VAMC) replaced water-cooled condensing units with air-cooled units, achieving monthly water savings of more than 55% and over 8,000,000 gallons over the first year of operation.
Gundersen Health System completed a 3-phase renovation on the Consolidated Services Center (warehouse) and office space in West Salem, Wisconsin to add solar, geothermal, and battery storage with the goal of achieving a microgrid configuration.
This toolkit is designed to support owners and operators of existing buildings in planning retrofit and operational strategies to achieve deep carbon reductions. Low Carbon Technology Strategies are currently available for 10 building types. Recommendations are grouped by technology, with actions categorized as either simple, intermediate, or advanced.
University of Utah Health completed a retro-commissioning project and installed a building energy management information system (EMIS) to find 38% annual savings.
The University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) made headway on their emissions-based goals by installing nearly 1,500 solar panels on several buildings on campus, including the Maurer Center for Public Health, finding 50% in energy savings.
Montefiore developed a comprehensive recycling program using waste audits and source generation methods to reduce and divert waste in operating rooms and throughout their medical campuses.
Kaiser Permanente’s 87,300-square-foot Santa Rosa medical office building in California is the first to achieve net-zero status and the first demonstrated net-zero healthcare building in the U.S., with the ability to generate its own energy and use as little power as possible.
The University of Maryland Medical Center partnered with the American Society for Health Care Engineering to host an Energy to Care Treasure Hunt and identify energy-saving opportunities across its portfolio. The teams found $2.1 million in potential savings and engaged with executive leadership to roll out capital expenditure energy efficiency projects.
Kaiser Permanente’s Richmond Medical Center was the first hospital in California to implement a microgrid that connects renewable energy and battery storage to a pre-existing, diesel-fueled backup power system in a hospital — as a result, the center stands to save an additional 2.63 MWh of energy per year, resulting in annual savings of $394,000.
UW Health saw an opportunity to curb University Hospital’s energy intensity through retro-commissioning after a successful project on their largest outpatient clinic yielded a 1-year payback, a 27% reduction in energy, and over $2 million in cost savings.
Gundersen Health's Sparta Clinic consumes half the energy than the average outpatient medical clinic due to its low-energy design that targets energy efficiency and integration of renewables. As of 2018, the solar photovoltaic panels have produced more energy than the building has consumed establishing the clinic as an energy independent facility.

Other Resources

Case Studies

Madera Community Hospital completed the installation of a 1,140 kilowatt ground-mounted solar photovoltaic array through a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA). The array produces 2,183,220 kWh annually and offsets approximately 40% of the hospital’s electricity consumption.
The North Shore-LIJ Healthcare System installed a 50 kilowatt solar array on one of their auxiliary buildings, producing 55,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) annually, ensuring continuous energy cost savings and a cleaner energy resource.
CHRISTUS Health cut lighting energy use 61% at St. Michael Hospital by replacing fluorescent lamps with LEDs. This was part of a larger lighting retrofit which achieved a 58% reduction in energy use.
Kaiser Permanente received national recognition from the U.S. Department of Energy for exemplary energy performance using an FDD for a portfolio, part of their plan to reduce their facility energy use as much as possible by implementing data analytics.
Bryan Health was recognized by DOE's Integrated Lighting Campaign for the innovative use of lighting sensors and controls at its East and West Campus locations in Lincoln, Nebraska. This case study describes the project and its outcomes. 


This document provides guidance for implementing Solar PV in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
This document includes steps that building owners and operators can implement to achieve smart, healthy, and low-carbon outpatient healthcare buildings within their existing building portfolios. Outpatient healthcare includes diagnostic and treatment facilities for outpatient care, and these buildings often use packaged rooftop units for heating, cooling, and ventilation.
This document includes steps that building owners and operators can implement to achieve smart, healthy, and low-carbon small office buildings within their existing building portfolios. Small offices are typically less than 50,000 square feet and often use packaged rooftop units for heating, cooling, and ventilation.
This document includes steps that building owners and operators can implement to achieve smart, healthy, and low-carbon hospitals within their existing building portfolios. Hospitals typically include complex heating and cooling systems and specialty medical equipment.
The Healthy Buildings Toolkit investigates the intersection of energy efficiency and occupant health and wellbeing. Healthy buildings is a developing field that looks at impacts of the built environment on the health and wellbeing of building occupants. It encompasses a wide range of applications that promote human health, such as lighting, thermal comfort, and indoor air quality, and human outcomes such as improved individual and organizational performance, reduced absenteeism and presenteeism in the workplace, and lowered healthcare costs

Implementation Models

The University of Utah implemented an internal Green Revolving Fund to allocate savings from current energy efficiency projects to invest in future projects, saving the university $1.6 million on energy costs since its inception.
Ascension dedicates an annual budget from their Facilities Infrastructure Pool for energy efficiency upgrades at its hospitals to overcome the “first-cost” hurdle or insufficient access to capital, resulting in energy and cost savings.
Cleveland Clinic Foundation ramped-up energy and water efficiency in operating rooms through employee engagement, targeted calls to action, and resource tracking resulting in heightened staff awareness and measurable savings.
UPMC created an Energy Management and Engineering Department with an annual energy budget to prioritize efficiency improvements to reduce energy use, costs, and emissions.
New York-Presbyterian Hospital launched a retro-commissioning program that blends energy management with improving the quality of patient care for a holistic approach that engages all hospital staff and has resulted in energy and cost savings year-over-year.


Hospitals face an especially challenging energy problem – how to operate 24/7 in a strict control environment for lighting and HVAC? One way to manage usage is through EMIS, a broad family of tools and services. Learn how two hospital projects successfully controlled their complex buildings through the use of data analytics and monitoring based commissioning.
Learn from hospital CFOs who have made significant and replicable investment in energy projects. The CFOs review energy investment strategies and their approaches to bringing financial, environmental, and social aspects of energy alterations to the forefront of fiscal operations of healthcare facilities.


DOE commissioned NREL to partner with two hospitals (MGH and SUNY UMU) to collect data on the energy used for multiple thermal and electrical end-use categories.

Showcase Projects

Through improved lighting systems, occupancy sensors, a 4.5-megawatt combined heat and power plant, solar, and building automation, this medical center reduced annual energy use by 25% and saves $324,00 annually.
In addition to many lighting and systems upgrades, the project team at the National Cancer Institute used building information modeling to coordinate critical base building systems and tenant space build-out requirements to avoid system redundancy and ensure maximum efficiency. These measures help to save more than $2 million annually in energy costs.
Saint Thomas Hospital implemented a mix of low-cost behavior change measures and large-scale infrastructure projects to save more than $150,000 on energy costs annually.
The Sanford-Kimpton Building, housing the Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services Department, received a complete recommissioning of its HVAC systems and lighting retrofits. Upgrades to these systems led to 33% in annual energy savings as well as improved tenant comfort.
In addition to improved occupant comfort, facility improvements to Will County's Sunny Hill Nursing Home included window and roof replacements, insulation, and LED installations and are expected to yield $71,000 in annual energy cost savings.
Hackensack Meridian Health found 20% energy savings at the Medical Plaza ambulatory care facility due to a Building Automation System (BAS) upgrade, chiller plant optimization,campus-wide steam plant replacement, and strategical local utility partnership. 
Cleveland Clinic's Twinsburg Family Health and Surgery Center implemented several low-cost and no-cost energy conservation measures to ensure the building met LEED Gold certification expected performance. The upgrades showed 36% energy savings and $246,000 in cost savings.
Leveraging the partnership with Alabama Power, USA Medical Center implemented a variety of efficiency measures across the medical campus that benefited the bottom line, improved overall energy and water efficiency, and maintained or improved patient and staff comfort.
Leaders at Hillcrest Hospital prioritized energy conservation initiatives and projects through a centralized action plan with engagement across all departments, saving 23% in energy usage and nearly $530,000 annually.

Solution at a Glance

In a single summer, UW Health saved $9,000 on utilities and earned $22,000 in incentives by participating in a utility-led program that offered incentives for reducing peak energy usage coupled with free energy dashboards providing real-time energy usage data.


The Better Buildings Challenge supports commercial and industrial building owners by providing technical assistance and proven solutions to energy efficiency. Hear from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, a Better Buildings Challenge partner.
Zero energy buildings combine energy efficiency and renewable energy generation to consume only as much energy as can be produced onsite through renewable resources.
This webinar describes how the DOE helps move energy efficiency opportunities in buildings from ideas to mass-market uptake by identifying and developing high impact technologies.


Have you dreamed of having broad support internally for energy efficiency projects? This webinar highlighted ways to persuasively present lighting efficiency projects to different audiences in your organization, including management, human resources, and clinicians.
This Better Buildings Alliance healthcare sector peer exchange had ASHRAE expert Jeff Boldt explain changes in ASHRAE Standard 170-2013, Ventilation of Health Care Facilities.

Additional Information

Featured on the Beat Blog

Additional Resources

ASHE's (American Society for Healthcare Engineering) Energy to Care Treasure Hunts
Uncover significant energy savings through an Energy to Care Treasure Hunt - a 1-3 day event hosted by ASHE bringing together health care facilities professionals on a quest to discover low-cost energy savings opportunities.

ASHRAE Health Care Facilities Resources
Review these guides and publications to reduce energy use at your hospital.

ASHE Sustainability Roadmap for Hospitals – A Guide to Achieving Your Sustainability Goals
Developed by the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE), the Association for the Healthcare Environment (AHE), and the Association for Healthcare Resource & Materials Management (AHRMM) to address challenges to integrating sustainable practices into the healthcare environment. Offers resources on Developing a Water Management Plan and Getting Leadership Support.

Health Care Climate Council Climate Action: A Playbook for Hospitals
This interactive tool developed by the Health Care Climate Council visually demonstrates climate impacts across a hospital and highlights examples of council members' solutions that are improving climate and health while saving money too. 

Health Care Without Harm Report "Health Care & Climate Change: An Opportunity for Transformative Leadership"
This Healthcare Without Harm report offers detailed guidelines and case studies to help hospital leaders and facilities’ staff develop comprehensive strategies for energy efficiency and clean technology. Data from new and retrofitted hospitals demonstrate that energy savings of 30% to 50% are often readily achievable and that these projects are highly cost-effective.

NREL REopt Lite™ web tool
The REopt Lite™ web tool evaluates the economics of grid-connected photovoltaics (PV), wind, and battery storage at a site. It allows users to identify the system sizes and battery dispatch strategy that minimize a site’s life cycle cost of energy, and it estimates the amount of time a PV, wind, battery, and diesel generator system can sustain the site’s critical load during a grid outage.

Sector Priorities

The Better Buildings Alliance Healthcare Steering Committee helps to set priorities for Alliance work in the sector each year. This year, sector activities focus on the following priorities:

  • Create and disseminate solutions that characterize actionable decarbonization pathways in healthcare through electrification, resiliency planning, and ultra-high building efficiency.

  • Curate and showcase successful t and space utilization strategies in healthcare, engage partners to identify the energy implications of such strategies, and highlight how the expansion of telehealth services can enable greater equitable access to quality healthcare.

  • Engage partners to identify the diversity of issues around water in healthcare, including conservation, regional drought-risk, and health concerns from bacteria growth. Publish and disseminate solutions to share best practices.

Steering Committee Members

  • Edna Lorenz, Beaumont Health System (Co-chair)
  • Jed Thompson, University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) (Co-chair)
  • Carla Baca, Healthcare Realty Trust
  • Alan Eber, Gundersen Health System
  • James Symanski, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs 
  • Jon Utech, Cleveland Clinic Foundation
  • Kara Brooks, American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE)
  • Kyle Tafuri, Hackensack Meridian Health
  • Mary Statz, UW Health
  • Richie Stever, University of Maryland Medical Center

Meet the Sector Committee Chair