10th largest health system pledges 100% renewable electricity by 2030

 by Health Care Without Harm on January 2, 2019

In keeping with its mission to help people live well, Practice Greenhealth and Health Care Climate Council member Advocate Aurora Health announced a commitment to power its health care operations with 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030. The health system’s 27 hospitals and more than 500 outpatient care sites extend from Northeast Wisconsin to Central Illinois.

“As the 10th largest not-for-profit integrated health system in the country, it’s imperative that we help lead the way toward a healthy environment that can support healthy people. Transitioning to clean energy reduces air pollution that is responsible for many chronic health conditions and mitigates the health impacts of climate change,” said Mary Larsen, director of environmental affairs and sustainability. “Accelerating our work to make good on this pledge is just another way we will support the health and wellness of the patients and communities we are privileged to serve.”

Advocate Aurora Health is the first health system in Illinois to publicly announce such a goal. It joins other health care leaders in Wisconsin, the United States, and around the world in reducing health care’s environmental and climate impacts. Achieving this goal would reduce Advocate Aurora Health’s annual carbon dioxide emissions by 392,657 metric tons, equal to removing more than 84,000 passenger cars from the road each year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator.

“We are delighted that Advocate Aurora Health is demonstrating climate leadership by setting this ambitious renewable electricity goal,” said Lauren Koch, Health Care Without Harm’s U.S. associate director of Climate and Health. “Recent scientific reports have emphasized the urgency of moving to a clean energy economy to protect the health and safety of our communities, and Advocate Aurora Health is leading the way.”

One of the chronic health conditions aggravated by air pollution is asthma, a significant health issue in several communities across the Midwest and the nation. In addition to dedicating resources to the prevention, detection, and treatment of asthma through traditional health care operations, Advocate Aurora Health views this transition to clean energy as another tactic in the fight against asthma – both for patients in Wisconsin and Illinois and for wider society.

“Clean power produces clean air, and clean air helps save lives,” said Bill Santulli, chief operations officer of Advocate Aurora Health. “This commitment builds upon our strong track record of leadership in sustainability and environmental stewardship.”

Over the next decade, all major Advocate Aurora Health construction and renovation projects will be evaluated for the addition of on-site renewable electricity and implemented when financially feasible. The system will likely use a combination of on-site, off-site, and purchased renewable electricity to meet its goal, which is in line with other health system approaches to renewable energy. These efforts will be accompanied by a continued focus on energy efficiency, which lowers overall energy demand by its facilities.

Advocate Aurora Health is a member of Practice Greenhealth and the Health Care Climate Council and among 180 participants – representing the interests of more than 17,000 hospitals and health centers in 26 countries – that have accepted the Health Care Climate Challenge, which mobilizes health care organizations to protect public health from climate change. Six Advocate Aurora Health hospitals were recently named among the 60 greenest in the nation by Becker’s Hospital Review.

About Advocate Aurora Health

Advocate Aurora Health is the 10th largest not-for-profit, integrated health system in the United States and a leading employer in the Midwest with more than 70,000 team members, including more than 22,000 nurses and the region’s largest employed medical staff and home health organization. A national leader in clinical innovation, health outcomes, consumer experience and value-based care, the system serves nearly 3 million patients annually in Illinois and Wisconsin across more than 500 sites of care. Advocate Aurora is engaged in hundreds of clinical trials and research studies, and is nationally recognized for its expertise in cardiology, neurosciences, oncology and pediatrics. The organization contributed $2 billion in charitable care and services to its communities in 2016. To learn more, visit aah.org