Committing to Renewable Power: A Strategic Step towards Sustainability in Healthcare

Jul 21, 2023

Exterior shot of a white hospital building.

Committing to Renewable Power: A Strategic Step towards Sustainability in Healthcare

Navigating the Path to Renewable Energy With the Help of Professionals 

In the face of mounting pressures to reduce carbon footprints and achieve sustainability goals, healthcare facilities increasingly recognize the importance of transitioning to renewable power sources. While the commitment to long-term contracts associated with bundled Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) may have caused hesitations in the past for many organizations, now is the opportune time for healthcare organizations to take proactive steps toward renewable power solutions. Below we outline the steps to improving sustainability in healthcare

SEE MORE: Unlocking Sustainable Solutions: Empowering Healthcare Organizations to Exceed New Guidelines Through Environ Energy

The Path to Sustainability

Healthcare facilities are grappling with an increasing need to address their environmental impact and embrace sustainable practices. Rising energy consumption and stringent carbon reduction targets necessitate a shift towards renewable power sources. By transitioning to clean energy, healthcare organizations can be crucial in mitigating climate change and promoting public health. As large energy consumers, hospitals and healthcare systems are poised to play a significant role in environmental stewardship and have the opportunity to lead by example in the transition to clean energy.

Energy consumption within healthcare facilities is substantial, driven by round-the-clock operation of equipment, lighting, heating, and cooling systems. As a result, hospitals contribute 7.6% of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, according to a 2019 report. Recognizing this impact, healthcare organizations are increasingly seeking ways to transition to renewable power sources to mitigate their environmental footprint and volatile electricity and natural gas costs. 

Despite the opportunities for hospitals and healthcare facilities to make significant contributions to reducing their community’s carbon footprint, the healthcare sector faces unique challenges when implementing sustainability plans and projects. On the one hand, hospitals require a constant and reliable power supply to ensure the well-being of patients and the effective operation of critical medical equipment. On the other hand, they must address the growing urgency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change. Balancing these priorities requires a prudent and strategic approach to energy procurement.

Paving the Way

The path to sustainability may present challenges but also offers immense rewards. Healthcare organizations that proactively adopt renewable power sources today not only ensure compliance with evolving regulations and industry standards but also position themselves as leaders in the transition to a low-carbon economy. By committing to renewable power and incorporating it into their long-term strategies, hospitals, and healthcare systems reduce their environmental impact, improve community health, and demonstrate their dedication to a sustainable future.

Transitioning to renewable power not only helps combat climate change but also aligns with the healthcare sector’s mission of promoting community health and well-being. Moreover, embracing sustainable practices can have positive ripple effects within the community. Hospitals are often large employers and trusted community leaders. By committing to renewable power, healthcare organizations send a clear message that they prioritize environmental responsibility and are taking concrete steps to protect public health. This commitment can inspire other industries, businesses, and individuals to follow suit and adopt sustainable energy practices.

In addition to the environmental and community benefits, renewable power procurement can offer long-term financial advantages. With advancements in renewable energy technologies and declining costs, renewable power has become increasingly cost-competitive with traditional energy sources. Healthcare organizations can secure favorable energy rates, hedge against future price volatility, and realize significant cost savings over the contract term by entering into long-term contracts for bundled RECs or engaging in power purchase agreements.

Environ Energy is here to help! By harnessing power from sources like solar, wind, and biomass, healthcare facilities can reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Transitioning to renewable power sources involves careful planning and consideration. Healthcare facilities must first assess their energy needs, evaluate the availability of renewable resources in their regions, and develop strategies to integrate renewable energy systems into their existing infrastructure. This may include installing rooftop solar panels, partnering with off-site renewable energy projects, or exploring power purchase agreements with renewable energy developers.

Prudent Next Steps

With the renewable energy landscape rapidly evolving, it is wise for healthcare facilities to consider taking proactive steps toward securing bundled RECs and exploring VPPAs or PPAs. By committing to long-term contracts today, healthcare organizations ensure compliance with their sustainability goals, lock in favorable energy rates, and demonstrate environmental leadership within the industry.                                                                                                                                                            

Understanding RECs 

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) form the backbone of renewable power procurement. They serve as tracking and accounting instruments that validate the generation and use of renewable energy. RECs can be procured through various channels, including local distribution utilities, competitive power suppliers, or directly from renewable energy generators. The ownership and retirement of RECs are fundamental to claiming renewable energy usage, making them an essential component of any green power purchasing decision.

Exploring VPPAs and PPAs 

Virtual Power Purchase Agreements (VPPAs) and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) are two key mechanisms through which healthcare organizations can commit to long-term renewable power contracts. Using contract structures like VPPAs and PPAs, organizations can procure renewable energy projects or pursue the development of renewable energy generation facilities. Both options provide the opportunity for significant environmental and financial benefits, fostering a sustainable future.

Choosing the Right Path 

For healthcare facilities committed to sustainability and seeking to secure renewable power for the long term, taking proactive measures and implementing prudent next steps is crucial. By following these steps, hospitals and healthcare organizations can navigate the path to renewable energy procurement effectively while maintaining compliance with their goals.

1. Assess Energy Consumption and Renewable Energy Goals:

The first step is to evaluate your healthcare facility’s current energy consumption and set clear renewable energy goals. Understand your energy needs, patterns, and peak demand periods to determine the renewable energy capacity required to meet your organization’s power requirements. Establish specific carbon reduction and renewable energy adoption targets, aligning them with industry standards and regulations.

2. Conduct a Renewable Energy Resource Assessment:

Determine the availability and suitability of renewable energy resources at your healthcare facility’s location. Engage with energy experts or consultants who can thoroughly assess your site’s potential for solar, wind, biomass, or other renewable energy sources. This assessment will help you identify the most viable options for on-site generation or evaluate opportunities for off-site renewable energy procurement.

3. Evaluate Financial and Budgetary Considerations:

Understand the financial implications of committing to renewable power for the long term. Conduct a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis, considering upfront investment, operational expenses, potential savings, and return on investment. Explore financing options, grants, or incentives available to support your renewable energy projects. Assess your budgetary capacity and determine the feasibility of entering into long-term contracts or agreements.

4. Engage with Renewable Energy Providers:

Reach out to reputable renewable energy providers and explore partnership opportunities. Consult with experts specializing in Virtual Power Purchase Agreements (VPPAs), Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), or other renewable energy procurement models. Discuss your organization’s specific needs, goals, and timeline for transitioning to renewable power. Seek guidance on the best options available in the market and evaluate potential partners based on their track record, expertise, and alignment with your sustainability values.

5. Consider Collaboration and Collective Action:

Explore opportunities for collaboration and collective action within the healthcare industry. Engage with regional or national healthcare networks, sustainability consortia, or industry associations focused on promoting renewable energy adoption. By joining forces with other healthcare organizations, you can leverage collective purchasing power, share best practices, and advocate for policies that support renewable energy initiatives.

6. Develop an Implementation Plan:

Create a comprehensive implementation plan that outlines the steps, timelines, and responsibilities for transitioning to renewable power. Identify key milestones, procurement processes, and potential challenges. Have a clear understanding of the regulatory requirements and compliance obligations associated with renewable energy procurement. Collaborate with internal stakeholders, including facility management, finance, and sustainability teams, to ensure alignment and smooth execution of the plan.

7. Monitor and Evaluate Performance:

Once your renewable energy projects or agreements are in place, establish a monitoring and evaluation system to track your progress toward renewable energy goals. Regularly assess the performance of your renewable energy systems, measure energy generation, and monitor cost savings and carbon reduction. Adjust as necessary to optimize efficiency and maximize the benefits of your renewable power investments.

By following these prudent next steps, healthcare facilities can confidently commit to obtaining renewable power for the long term while maintaining compliance with their sustainability objectives. Embracing clean energy sources contributes to a healthier environment and positions healthcare organizations as leaders in the transition to a sustainable future. Take action today to secure a greener tomorrow.

How Environ Can Help 

At Environ, we are privileged to work with numerous healthcare clients, supporting them in their renewable energy journeys. Our expertise in energy procurement, sustainability practices, and project implementation enables us to provide tailored solutions that meet the unique needs of healthcare organizations. 

By connecting with the Environ team, we invite you to learn more about the specific steps and strategies tailored to your healthcare facility’s needs. Our experts are dedicated to helping healthcare organizations navigate the complexities of renewable energy procurement and achieve their sustainability goals effectively. Let’s embark on this transformative journey together. Get started by calling or filling out our contact form