Climate-conscious healthcare community

Published in the dossier of July 2017

With their 24-hour operations and energyintensive facilities such as laboratories, healthcare establishments are major greenhouse gas emitters. Working through the GRC’s Health Care Working Group, Boston hospitals have made significant energy reduction and GHG progress. Between 2011 and 2015, energy greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by 29%, while use of electricity has been cut by 7% and natural gas by 20%. Significant investments in low-impact hydro, wind and solar power by Partners HealthCare and Boston Medical Center (BMC) will produce an additional 20% reduction in healthcare sector greenhouse gas emissions for 2016-2020. Partners is working to make its entire healthcare system net carbon positive for all energy by 2025 and BMC expects all its energy to be carbon neutral by 2018.

“When we started working on this with the city, our goal was simply to do the best we could,” says BMC Facility Services SVP, Bob Biggio. “As momentum grew, we set our sights on becoming the greenest hospital in Boston. Beyond reducing costs, contributing to a healthier environment by greening our operations is really imbedded in our DNA of taking a holistic approach to people’s health, including the safety net we provide to underserved populations.” Taking lessons from recent system failures such as Super Storm Sandy, the healthcare community is also working to increase the reliability of critical public health and safety infrastructure by responding to climate-related vulnerabilities.

Bob Biggio says Veolia’s district energy contributes to BMC’s resiliency by increasing energy supply diversity. “Veolia has also done a good job of aligning their district system with our resilience and carbon reduction goals. In doing so, they’ve enabled us to avoid costly investments in real estate for new energy facilities, which means we can invest more in patient care and other energy efficiency measures. It’s a win-win relationship on which we’re continuing to build.”

> Healthcare facilities and environmental challenges