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.
Allina Health leveraged a climate risk vulnerability assessment tool from the University of Minnesota and the State of Minnesota to ensure the organization is prepared for the impacts of climate change on its buildings and community.
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.
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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.
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:
- Highlight partners that are enabling occupant-centric energy efficiency projects. Engage the National Laboratories to identify and disseminate existing resources on low carbon new construction. Explore pathways to integrate heat recovery into healthcare design.
- Publish and disseminate resources and solutions that highlight on-site renewable energy and beneficial electrification projects that enable climate resilient hospital complexes.
- Identify and address barriers to implementing submetering strategies across portfolios.
Steering Committee Members
- Edna Lorenz, Beaumont Health System (Co-chair)
- Jed Thompson, University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) (Co-chair)
- 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