Supporting Your ASHE Sustainability Journey
Health care facilities are dedicated to working together to become more sustainable by adopting environmental, social, and fiduciary practices that support healthy, equitable, and resilient environments and communities. In support of its mission of advancing the health of individuals and communities, ASHE provides strategic thought leadership, resources, and programs to support health care organizations pursuing sustainability.
What is sustainability in health care?
- In health care, sustainability refers to the integration of environmental stewardship, social equity and fiduciary responsibility to support healthy, equitable and resilient environments and communities over time.
- Sustainability in health care is based on a simple principle: Everything that humans need for their survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on the natural environment.
- To pursue sustainability is to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony
Why and how does environmental sustainability affect health care?
Problem: The environment contributes to people's wellbeing, contributing to chronic diseases, such as asthma and cancer, or to acute illnesses like heat exhaustion.
Solution: Everyone, including hospitals, needs to be a part of the solution and make changes that will help improve the environment.
Premise: Hospitals can reduce carbon emissions significantly with simple changes, such as reducing surgical waste, reducing toxic chemicals and installing life-saving renewable energy sources.
Reason: Hospital and health systems engaged in sustainable practices are doing so largely because it aligns with their humanitarian and stewardship mission and vision. Becoming a positive force for environmental health leads to human health and wellbeing.
“Where do we start?” is a common question when embarking on a sustainability journey. Complicating the question further, the word “sustainability” is often used interchangeably with other related concepts. Standardize your team’s communication to make your journey more cohesive and efficient with the Sustainability Glossary.
The ASHE Sustainability Guide was developed to provide step-by-step directions for developing and executing a sustainability program for your health care facility.
Success Stories and Sustainability Tips
Read success stories about the health care facilities that have improved sustainability and embarked on decarbonization. Gather real world examples and sustainability tips from health care industry professions to help readers like you thrive in sustainable practices.
Learn to take action to decarbonize health care facilities and become more sustainable. These opportunities provide foundational knowledge of sustainability and empowers learners to work with their organizations to become more sustainable. Start your journey today!
Decarbonizing Health Care Facilities
State and Local jurisdictions across the US are setting environmental sustainability and decarbonization goals and targets for commercial buildings. Buildings, including health care facilities, are being held accountable for tracking their energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. This chart displays hospital specific emissions as they relate to departments.
Scope 1 Direct emissions emanating directly from health care facilities and health care owned vehicles.
- Combustion of Natural Gas
- Combustion of Diesel Generators
- Emissions from Refrigerants
- Medical Gas System leaks and exhaust
- Landscape and misc equipment emissions
- Fleet Fuel combustion
Scope 2 Indirect emissions from purchased energy sources such as electricity, steam, cooling and heating.
- Emissions from purchased energy
Scope 3 Emissions derived from health care supply chain through the production, transport and disposal of goods and services.
- Water Embodied Carbon
- Building Product/Supplies Embodied Carbon
- Patient Transportation
- Visitor Transportation
- Staff Transportation
- Vendor Transportation
- Equipment Embodied Carbon
- Supplies Embodied Carbon
- Pharmaceuticals Embodied Carbon
- Food Embodied Carbon
- Emissions of Outsourced Services
Hospital Specific Emissions by Department
- Procurement, Clinicians, Clinical Engineering
- Environmental Services (EVS)
- Pharmacy, Procurement, Environmental Services (EVS)
Emissions Impact by Category
Emissions impact by category related to the data available and the opportunity to mitigate emissions. Items in the upper right quadrant are things we can do now. The data is relatively easy to collect and the mitigation opportunities are significant. Those in the lower left are a bit more difficult to tackle. The Health care field is embracing desiloing and tackling their emissions categories.
Thank You to Our Sustainability Volunteers
These groups are made up of ASHE Professional Active Members and Associate Members with a strong interest in health care sustainability and decarbonization. ASHE staff members Kara Brooks, Chad Beebe and Austin Wallace have played a central role in coordinating and collaborating with these volunteers.
Sustainability and Decarbonization Committee
The committee guides the development of content, tools, and resources to help ASHE members advance their work in sustainability.
Sustainability and Decarbonization Foundations Task Force
The task force works to create and maintain key communication content on sustainability and decarbonization so ASHE members are more informed. They help maintain ASHE's role as a thought leader in the health care sustainability space.
This task force works to create information and resources for ASHE members to enhance the education of current leaders and influence leadership to invest in sustainability initiatives. They also work to develop future leaders in the field of health care sustainability.
Health Care Decarbonization Task Force
The task force will create information and resources for ASHE members to help reduce carbon emissions in their facilities.