Swedish Health Services is continuing its journey in carbon reduction with major infrastructure upgrades.

Images courtesy of Swedish Health Services

Seattle-based Swedish Health Services, one of the largest nonprofit health care providers in the Northwest, includes eight hospitals, more than 120 clinics and over 12,000 employees. The organization is in the process of building two new towers at its flagship campus, First Hill, both of which are integral to the organization’s plan to make the entire system carbon negative by 2030.

“Hospitals operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and they are very impactful on the environment,” says Chief Real Estate Officer Mike Denney. 

In partnership with Vancouver-based Creative Energy, which develops and operates district energy systems that are designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, almost 9,000 tons of carbon dioxide will be eliminated annually at First Hill. That is equivalent to removing 1,800 cars from the road. 

The project involves modernizing the infrastructure of the First Hill campus to reduce wasted energy by capturing excess heat, which can be used to heat its facilities without consuming additional energy. Thermal storage also will allow off-cycle cooling and improve Swedish’s ability to manage the temperatures in its facilities.

“We are technology agnostic, meaning that we package different technologies to supply energy in a very responsible, reliable way and help organizations achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,” says Creative Energy CEO Krishnan Iyer. “We help our clients build, renew and operate their energy infrastructure in a sustainable, reliable and affordable way.”

Iyer commends Swedish for driving this large-scale change.

“They took the bold step of defining their sustainability goals to include decarbonizing their campuses and including that in their plans for the two new towers,” he says. “Swedish took leadership, and we are seeing other health care providers follow that trend as well.”

Swedish is already recognized for its environmental efforts, and all existing campuses have received awards for their energy- and carbon-reduction practices.

“Our mission is to improve the health and well-being of every person we serve,” Denney says. “That doesn’t just include the delivery of medical care, but [also] creating a healthy environment by doing our part.”