Talking Points

talking points

Boston hospitals are doing their part for the environment

Boston Medical Center.
Boston Medical Center has found $8 million in annual energy cost savings.

Boston’s top hospitals aren’t waiting around to see what happens with the Paris climate accord.

Hospital executives in Boston decided several years ago to collectively cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent in time for 2020, lining up with a statewide mandate set by the Legislature. Now, we’re learning the hospitals surpassed that goal -- three years early.

Boston Medical Center CEO Kate Walsh and Partners HealthCare CEO David Torchiana will share their sector’s progress on Tuesday with theBoston Green Ribbon Commission, a group charged with addressing climate change. Walsh and Torchiana represent the health care sector on the panel.

In Boston Medical Center’s case, the hospital has found $8 million in annual energy cost savings. Some of those savings will arrive through BMC’s ongoing campus consolidation, by making more efficient use of its space in the South End. But a recent contract to buy credits from a solar power plant in North Carolina is also playing a major role.

Meanwhile, all of Partners’ hospitals (except Brigham & Women’s, which already has a long-term contract with a gas-fired plant in Longwood) are together fueled by non-carbon-emitting energy sources today, primarily through the purchase of credits for solar and small-scale hydropower. The mix will shift to include a significant amount of wind power in 2019.

This is all happening regardless of President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. And, of course, these hospitals aren’t the only major players in the business world who are continuing to advance aggressive plans to curb greenhouse gases.

They know the opportunities are too good, and the need too pressing, to leave the solution up to the whims of Washington.


Jon Chesto is a Globe reporter. Reach him at and follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.