Boston Hospitals’ Greenhouse Gas Cuts Fall Short: Report

By Dan Hounsell, Senior Editor, Facility Market
July 13, 2021

Hospitals nationwide have made great strides in recent years to operate more energy efficiently and sustainably. The results of a recent report demonstrate that in at least one major U.S. city, even major strides are falling short.

Hospitals in metro Boston cut greenhouse gas emissions 18 percent between 2011 and 2019 even as they expanded space, according to WBUR. The main driver was a shift to renewable energy, such as Boston Medical Center's purchase of solar power and Mass General Brigham's increasing use of hydro and solar power.

The report says the reduction equals 195 million fewer miles in a gasoline-powered car, as well as nearly $21 million in savings from fewer extreme weather events, lost time at work and climate-related illnesses. But the 18 percent reduction is well short of Boston's goals: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050.

The report spells out a path to these climate change goals. Hospitals can reduce carbon emissions 38 percent by 2030 if all of their electricity comes from renewable sources. The remaining 12 percent cut would come from the use of natural gas or other energy sources.

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