Hospitals generate greenhouse gases in a variety of ways. Their energy and food choices, the supplies they use, the structures they build, and the waste they create each have their own footprint of on the environment and, ironically, human health. As Practice Greenhealth indicates, hospitals across the country (and abroad) are taking action to reduce these carbon footprints. Practice Greenhealth works with hospitals "to develop and identify robust measurement and tracking systems for GHGs and helping create the transition to a more sustainable long term energy solution." Why should your hospital be concerned about climate and health? Find out here. You can also learn more about Practice Greenhealth below.
The largest contributor to greenhouse gases is the energy supply sector—estimated to generate 25.9 percent of worldwide greenhouse gases in 2007. The health care sector ranks as the number two commercial energy user in the United States after the food service industry, and the inpatient care facility is the health care sector’s largest energy consumer and largest GHG producer. Hospitals use approximately twice the energy as office buildings of the same size, and roughly twice the amount of comparable European hospitals. A recent research letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association estimated that in 2007 the health care sector was responsible for eight percent of total US greenhouse gas emissions, with hospitals owning the largest share of the contribution (39 percent), followed by prescription drug sector (14 percent)[iii]. The large scale energy use of the healthcare sector is having the unintended consequence of causing additional illness and disease that must then be addressed.
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