Healthcare is an energy intensive undertaking. Most hospitals operate 24/7, 365 days per year, with specific heating and cooling requirements for patient care, clinical procedures and more.

That reality makes the healthcare system one of the largest emitters of CO2 in the world, responsible 4.4 percent of total emissions. That figure is even higher in highly industrialized countries like Canada and the United States. Healthcare consumes two-and-a-half times more energy than the commercial real estate sector and produces more carbon emissions than shipping or aviation.

It’s clear that decarbonization in the healthcare sector must be a priority if we are to achieve our collective net zero goals. Fortunately, healthcare providers and administrators are working hard to reduce their energy consumption and the resulting emissions. They understand, perhaps better than most, the impacts climate change is having and will have on people and the planet.

The Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care is a group working towards an environmentally sustainable, climate resilient and net-zero health system. Its members are building capacity in both individuals and organizations to develop green health policies and practices.

At SHIFT Energy, we do a lot of work in the healthcare sector, helping hospitals and other facilities reduce their energy consumption and carbon emissions without impacting the comfort of patients, staff, and visitors. That’s one reason we have been recognized by the Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care as a “Sustainability Champion” for our commitment to making healthcare more sustainable.

We know the clock is ticking on climate change.

Working together in common cause, like the healthcare leaders in the Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care, is vital to holding global temperature increases to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius higher than the pre-industrial era. To achieve this goal, the Paris Agreement called for emissions to be reduced by 45% by 2030 and to reach zero by 2050.

Cutting emissions in healthcare is an important part of this journey.