International coalition Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) announced in a recent press release that it has entered into an agreement with the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), a project of the William J. Clinton Foundation, to develop programs to help hospitals and healthcare facilities reduce their environmental impact, particularly in the area of carbon reduction. HCWH will work with CCI to develop building energy efficiency retrofit projects and other carbon reduction strategies in healthcare facilities.
Hospitals and healthcare facilities emit large quantities of carbon and other pollutants associated with climate change. As the second most energy-intensive commercial sector of the U.S. economy, healthcare consumes more than 73 trillion kWh of “conventional” electricity annually. According to U.S. EPA-based estimates, the healthcare industry’s energy use adds over $600 million per year in increased healthcare costs related to increased disease burden in the general public (e.g. treated asthma cases, respiratory illness, increased hospital room visits).
Aware of their unintended contribution to climate change, many hospitals and healthcare facilities are taking steps to reduce their environmental impact. Many have joined HCWH and its affiliates Practice Greenhealth and the Global Health and Safety Initiative, to receive guidance and assistance. However, many facilities have not been able to secure funding for necessary major architectural and equipment changes because of the economic downturn. Through the HCWH-CCI partnership, hospitals and healthcare institutions will receive technical assistance when implementing energy efficiency projects and become eligible for discounted energy efficiency products. The initial focus of the HCWH-CCI collaboration will be on more than a dozen public and private hospitals and health facilities located in and around Chicago, Ill., with the intention of expanding to other U.S. cities and internationally in the near future.
“Healthcare is 16 percent of the GDP and the one sector of the economy focused on health. Hospitals can play a critical role in protecting our communities from climate related disease as well as be a driver for the green energy economy of the 21st century,” stated Gary Cohen, executive director of HCWH. “We are extremely pleased to partner with the Clinton Climate Initiative to facilitate the transfer of energy saving technology to health care institutions nationally and worldwide.”
Under the agreement, hospitals and healthcare facilities affiliated with HCWH and its partners will be able to access the benefits of CCI’s partnerships, including global energy service companies that are committed to providing streamlined procurement processes, transparency in pricing, guaranteed maximum project cost, and importantly, guaranteed minimum savings.
Discounts and other preferable product pricing on energy efficiency building technologies negotiated by CCI will also be made available to HCWH-affiliated hospitals and healthcare facilities. The products include energy efficient products such as reflective roofing and solar control window film, solar cooling and modular chillers, and lighting products.
Hospital and healthcare facilities can also utilize design and operational innovations and other solutions that HCWH, Practice Greenhealth and GHSI can provide such as the Energy Impact Calculator, reverse energy auctions, Green Guide for Healthcare, Greenhealth TrackerTM, and broader sustainability measures that reduce health care’s carbon footprint.
“While our initial efforts will focus on Chicago, we hope to rapidly expand this project to other U.S. cities and other types of projects,” said Cohen. “The Clinton Climate Initiative and HCWH both share the philosophy that we can help accelerate the transformation of renewable and energy saving innovations by catalyzing the collective purchasing power of the healthcare sector.”