Hospitals not making much progress in reducing their carbon footprint

Energy benchmarking survey shows flat emissions pattern over past 20 years.

February 20, 2019 |

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Hospitals have been unable to reduce their carbon footprint over the past 20 years, according to Grumman/Butkus Associates (G/BA).

The firm recently released the results of its 2018 Hospital Energy and Water Benchmarking Survey that tracks healthcare facilities’ resource usage trends and costs for calendar year 2017. Hospitals’ average carbon footprint has remained fairly steady at 50 to 60 pounds of CO2 equivalent per ft2 per year since G/BA began calculating carbon data in 1999.

Hospitals’ overall fossil fuel use has trended slightly downward, but electricity use isn’t declining as much. The average combined Btu/ft2 (electricity plus gas/steam) for participating facilities was 241,733 in CY2017, up slightly from CY2016 (236,910 Btu/ft2).

Square-foot prices for gas/steam rose modestly ($0.75 in 2017, compared with $0.71 in 2016), but square-foot prices for electricity climbed more sharply ($2.41 in 2017, vs. $2.25 in 2016). Hospital water/sewer use is gradually declining, currently averaging about 48 gallons per square foot per year (compared with more than 60 gallons/ ft2/year a decade ago).

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