Health Care Working Group

Focused on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and delivering the significant health benefits of climate mitigation and adaptation to the communities we serve.


Major initiatives include

  • Leading Boston in understanding and responding to the many health benefits of climate action. For example, in the spring of 2014, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Boston Medical Center (BMC), and Brigham and Women’s hospital (BWH) all met Mayor Marty Walsh’s Carbon Cup Challenge criteria by achieving, or committing to achieve, green house gas reductions greater than 25% by 2020. MGH reached 35% in 2014, BMC is on track for a 45% reduction by 2020, BWH will hit 35% by 2020. Most of Boston’s hospitals have, or are developing, significant Combined Heat and Power plants (CHP), which are +- 25% more efficient than utility sources, can deliver 18% green house gas reductions, and reduce pollutant emissions that impact public health and welfare. Recent grid failures during Super Storm Sandy and the New England ice storm have put renewed focus on electrical and thermal system reliability for critical public health & safety infrastructure. CHP systems have developed a track record of providing reliable power, and can be built with off-grid capability to support hospitals during major grid failures, increasing facility resilience.
  • Energy/GHG Metrics: Virtually all the major Boston area hospitals, encompassing over 65 buildings with 24 million square feet of owned space, have entered energy and facility data for multiple years into EPAs Energy Star Portfolio Manager, completing a first-in-the-nation health care metropolitan area energy and GHG data set. We analyzed over 18,000 energy records to track the sector’s collective progress towards the GRC’s shared goals of a 25% reduction in GHG emissions by 2020, and 80% by 2050. Click here for full report.
  • Hospitals have made significant energy reduction and GHG progress. From January, 2011 through the end of 2013, the sector has cut energy use by 6% compared to business as usual, equal to eliminating the GHG impact of an average car traveling over 85 million miles. The report identifies several areas where Boston hospitals have made notable progress in energy efficiency, conservation and GHG reduction, including:
    • The sector reduced absolute, weather normalized, total energy use (electricity, gas, chilled water, oil and steam) by 227 billion Btu.
    • Absolute electricity use dropped 25.4 million kWh, 6.47% BAU, or 6,797 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e).
    • Natural gas use dropped 1.2 million therms, 14.75% BAU or 6,367 MtCO2e.
    • GHG reductions for all fuels equaled 14,286 MtCO2e.
    • Cost savings are conservatively estimated at $11.9 million, enough to pay for healthcare for 1055 Massachusetts Medicare enrollees.

    Read the full report.

  • Strategic Energy Master Plans (SEMP): Based on work by Partners Health Care, participants created a uniform RFP for Simplified Strategic Energy Master Plans/Strategic MOUs. The document has been shared across all GRC sectors.
  • Leased Space: Based on Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centers demand ventilation reduction program, participants created standard language for institutional Landlord-Tenant-Utility agreements to advance energy efficiency projects in leased space. The document has been shared across all GRC sectors.
  • Energy efficiency and Clean Energy policy input to state, utility and municipal policy makers and governmental departments.
  • Working meetings of facility directors from all the hospitals typically advance:
    • Sharing of best practice case studies and strategies for energy efficiency
    • Energy efficiency and clean energy policy
    • Leverage alternative financing, incentives and ROI tools – In April, 2016, the GRC briefed more than 30 senior financial leaders representing 13 Boston Eds & Meds on financing large scale renewable energy purchases, with guest experts from Kaiser Permanente and Morgan Stanley.
    • Coordinated research on clinical equipment energy consumption, in preparation for asking the manufacturers, such as GE, Siemens, etc. to create more efficient equipment
    • Ensure energy/climate action is part of community health improvement programs
    • Promote & Implement renewable energy systems

Supporting organizations include:

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Boston Children’s Hospital Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston Medical Center MetroWest Medical Center
Brigham & Women’s Hospital Newton Wellesley Hospital
Cambridge Health Alliance North Shore Medical Center
Carney Hospital Partners Health Care System
Covenant Health Systems Spaulding Hospital & Rehabilitation Network
Dana Farber Cancer Institute St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center
Faulkner Hospital Steward Health Care System
Heywood Hospital Tufts Medical Center

Health Care’s GRC effort is coordinated by Health Care Without Harm-Boston, which works with health care providers to create 21st century health care delivery facilities, systems and process: resilient and regenerative buildings with sustainable practices that embed environmental health concerns.