Health Care Without Harm Boston

Health Care Without Harm hired its very first paid staff in Boston in 1996 to launch its medical waste incineration and medical mercury elimination campaigns. Ever since, HCWH Boston has continued to create and lead some of HCWH’s most ambitious efforts, including toxics reduction, green building, cleaner energy, and environmental health community benefits. Many of these efforts have spread around the country and the world.


Boston Green Ribbon Commission

Our current work reduces energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by health care facilities in greater Boston and around the region, primarily through our role as coordinators of the Health Care Work Group of the Boston Green Ribbon Commission (GRC). The GRC is a unique cross-sector collaboration of over 30 CEOs working to support Boston’s climate goal, which is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020, and 80% by 2050.

Resources and information on the GRC Health Care Working Groups’ remarkable progress, including a sample Energy Conservation Incentive Lease Agreement, a generic Strategic Energy Master Plan RFP, hospital CHP program information, and more is available here

In just four years, the Health Care Work Group of the GRC has brought together hospital facility leaders to: 

  • Collaborate in support of energy efficiency policy advances at the city and state level. Massachusetts ranks number one in energy efficiency policy and programs nationally, and through our efforts, health care has actively engaged with our forward-thinking utilities, state policy makers and others to make sure the health benefits of energy efficiency are properly valued, and to shape the Commonwealth’s next three-year, $2 billion rate payer-funded utility energy efficiency programs in ways that enable health care facilities to make the deepest improvements possible. Similarly, we helped the City of Boston shape an innovative Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance for all large commercial and multi-family buildings.
  • Complete a first-in-the-nation metro area health care energy and greenhouse gas data base, so that HCWH will be able to publicly report sector wide trending and usage. Years of energy data for 24 million square feet of metro Boston hospital space, including >18,000 records, has been uploaded into US EPA Portfolio Manager and a custom web interface as part of the participants’ commitments to the GRCs goal of helping the City achieve a 25% by reduction in green house gas emissions by 2020, and 80% by 2050.

Hospitals have made significant energy reduction and GHG progress. Analysis and a report completed in December, 2014 shows 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 report here 


Contact Us

For more information on HCWH’s work with the Boston Green Ribbon Commission, contact Bill Ravanesi, Senior Director of Health Care Green Building and Energy Program, or Paul Lipke, Senior Advisor, Energy and Building.

HCWH Boston produces an occassional newsletter to keep you up to date on our program news, events, and resources. 


The homepage slider image is courtesy of Paul Woolley