Nationwide, healthcare organizations spend $6.5 billion on energy each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. At Partners HealthCare, we’re committed to reducing our environmental footprint. To celebrate Earth Day this week, here are a few ways we’re working toward that goal.
Sustainable Initiatives Across Our Network
Our Sustainable Initiatives program gets hospitals and employees throughout the Partners system involved in a number of activities, from reducing energy consumption to increasing recycling and diverting waste from landfills, purchasing products without harmful chemicals and switching to antibiotic-free meats in our cafeterias.
Not only are these initiatives good for our employees and patients, they are decreasing our impact on the environment. We’ve committed to reducing our overall energy consumption by 25 percent, and we created a master energy plan for all Partners hospitals and facilities to help us meet that mark.
We also get employees involved in contributing new ideas to make our business more sustainable. There are over 300 green initiatives throughout the Partners system – many of which have come from employees, such as recycling the “blue wrap” used to cover surgical instruments in operating rooms.
Partnering to Improve Sustainability
Partners has also taken an active role in several coalitions and community networks dedicated to sustainability in health care. We’re a founding member of the Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI), a national coalition of health systems working together to improve sustainability and safety in health care. HHI shares best practices across its 1,200 hospital members to help reduce resource consumption, including efforts to decrease chemical use in hospitals and increase environmentally friendly purchasing.
Partners is also a founding member of the Healthcare Climate Council, which promotes a more resilient healthcare system in the face of climate change. In fact, we have just begun to develop a Resiliency Plan for 30 clinical and research sites to better understand the impact of climate change, including how to keep operations running during extreme weather.
Sustainable Building in Assembly Row
Finally, we’re very excited about the sustainable building initiatives involved in the new Partners campus that will open in Somerville’s Assembly Row in 2016. The new campus will incorporate features such as high-performance building materials, low-flow water fixtures, low-consumption LED lighting, high efficiency heating and cooling systems, a rooftop garden and storm water management to reduce our use of natural resources (as well as costs).
Green roofs can also reduce the urban heat island effect, a benefit not just for us but the community as well. Solar panels on the rooftop will help power the building, and energy-efficient walls and windows will help control energy usage. The building is projected to use 22 percent less energy than a building constructed to current building code standards, which will place it in the top 5 percent of office buildings in the Northeast.
The site location, directly across from a new MBTA station, will allow employees to take public transportation, and bike lanes, storage spaces and on-site showers will make cycling to work easier. And for those who drive, outlets for electric and hybrid vehicles will encourage more environmentally friendly driving options.
To learn more about sustainability at Partners, visit our website.