The American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE), which has long led the way in energy efficiency through its Energy to Care Program, is breaking ground in health care sustainability through a growing library of tools, resources and education.
No matter where hospitals are on their sustainability journey, ASHE has the resources to help, says Kara Brooks, MS, LEED AP BD+C, senior associate director of sustainability at ASHE. “Some of the larger health care systems have taken it on full force, while others are just emerging on their journeys. But hospitals across the board need to engage with sustainability.”
The “ASHE Sustainability Guide” offers users step-by-step directions for developing and executing a sustainability program — from creating a green team to doing an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions. The ASHE monograph “Best Practices for Financing Energy Sustainability” helps hospitals navigate the challenges associated with investing in the carbon reduction goals.
ASHE’s Energy to Care Dashboard, which allows health care facilities to easily track energy usage, recently added the ability to track water usage and greenhouse gases. Other Energy to Care resources include the Energy to Care Toolkit, energy conservation measures, sustainability tips and success stories.
In 2021 alone, ASHE estimated that the program saved gross greenhouse gas emissions from an equivalent of nearly 1 million passenger vehicles driven for one year. More than 1,000 hospitals track energy through the Energy to Care Dashboard.
ASHE also offers 50 energy conservation measures for integrating sustainability on topics ranging from establishing a baseline for energy consumption to setting construction standards for energy efficiency.
Because the buildings sector lacks sufficient mitigation policies, ASHRAE recently founded the Task Force for Building Decarbonization to develop technical resources and provide leadership and guidance in mitigating the negative carbon impact of buildings on the environment. In 2022, ASHRAE issued a “Position Document on Building Decarbonization.” Finally, ASHE and ASHRAE are joining to create a health care decarbonization guidebook that is scheduled for release by the end of 2023.