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Healthcare Giant to Assess All Projects for Renewables Potential, Aims for 100% by 2030

A healthcare company with 27 hospitals and more than 500 outpatient facilities has pledged to power its operations with 100% renewable electricity by 2030. Advocate Aurora Health, the 10th largest not-for-profit health system in the country, says achieving this goal will reduce its annual carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 400,000 metric tons.

Over the next decade, all major Advocate Aurora Health construction and renovation projects will be evaluated for the addition of on-site renewables, which will be implemented “when financially feasible,” the organization says. Advocate Aurora Health will likely use a combination of on-site, off-site, and purchased renewable electricity to meet its goal, in line with other health system approaches to renewable energy. These efforts will be accompanied by a continued focus on lowering overall energy demand at its facilities.

The company says it is the first health system in Illinois to publicly announce such a goal. But the announcement continues a nationwide trend among healthcare companies towards more sustainable – and resilient – operations. A 2018 report from the Commonwealth Fund pointed out that Kaiser Permanente has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 29% over the past decade while increasing membership by 20%. Kaiser, already one of the top users of solar power in the US, announced two additional renewables deals in 2018, according to the Business Renewables Center’s Deal Tracker.

Smaller healthcare organizations are also taking a role in energy management. Stony Brook University Hospital, for example, was recently awarded a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Environmental Excellence Award for measures that included replacing all hospital interior and exterior lights with LED lights. The LED project has realized a 67% energy savings, according to the hospital.

The US healthcare sector accounted for around 10% of the CO2 generated in the US in 2011, the Commonwealth Fund pointed out. The report urged organizations to continue to expand their reduction efforts. “In the absence of coordinated national governmental action on reducing fossil fuel emissions, greater responsibility falls on private and non-governmental sectors,” the report stated.


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