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. Metro Boston hospitals have made significant energy reduction and GHG progress. New analysis and a report completed in May, 2017 shows they cut their energy’s greenhouse gas emissions by 29 percent between 2011 and 2015, are on track to reduce 33 percent by 2020. Hospitals normally see their energy use and resulting emissions grow by 1.5 percent per year, but the participating hospitals are stopping that growth and going deeper, to achieve 47 percent reductions by 2020 compared to business as usual.  This 47 percent reduction is the equivalent to eliminating the annual greenhouse gas emissions of 42,220 passenger vehicles.

Progress in energy efficiency, conservation and greenhouse gas reductions included absolute, weather adjusted reductions:

    • in total energy use (electricity, gas, chilled water, oil and steam) by 223 billion Btu, 3 percent or 24,360 MtCO2e
    • in electricity use of 7.0 percent or 18,162 metric tons of CO2 equivalent (MtCO2e)
    • in natural gas of 20.0 percent, or 9,771 MTCO2e and
    • generated enough cost savings to pay for health care for 1,357 Massachusetts Medicare enrollees, equivalent to >$300 million in new patient revenue.
    • A 20 percent health care sector greenhouse gas emissions reduction for 2016-2020 is coming from significant investments in low impact hydro, wind, and solar power by Partners HealthCare and Boston Medical Center (BMC). Partners is working to make its entire health care system net carbon positive for all energy by 2025, and BMC expects all its energy to be climate neutral by 2018.
  • Advancing health care system, facility and infrastructure resilience in the face of climate-accelerated public health threats and extreme events. Recent failures during Super Storm Sandy, and the New England ice storm have put renewed focus on system reliability for critical public health & safety infrastructure.  Ongoing work helps hospitals assess and respond to their climate vulnerabilities while acting as anchor institutions to support resilience in the communities they serve.
  • Energy/GHG Metrics: Virtually all the major Boston area hospitals, encompassing over 65 buildings with 24 million square feet of owned space, regularly enter energy and facility data into EPAs Energy Star Portfolio Manager, maintaining the first-and-only-in-the-nation health care metropolitan area energy and GHG data set. We periodically analyze >24,000 records to track the sector’s collective progress towards the GRC’s shared goals of a 25 percent reduction in GHG emissions by 2020, and 100 percent by 2050. 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
    • Ensure energy/climate action is part of community health improvement programs


Supporting organizations include:

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical CenterMassachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Boston Children’s HospitalMassachusetts General Hospital
Boston Medical CenterMetroWest Medical Center
Brigham & Women’s HospitalNewton Wellesley Hospital
Cambridge Health AllianceNorth Shore Medical Center
Carney HospitalPartners Health Care System
Covenant Health SystemsSpaulding Hospital & Rehabilitation Network
Dana Farber Cancer InstituteSt. Elizabeth’s Medical Center
Faulkner HospitalSteward Health Care System
Heywood HospitalTufts 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.