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April 19, 2024

Hartford HealthCare pledges to be carbon neutral by 2050

Contributed Hartford HealthCare's headquarters at 100 Pearl St., Hartford.

Hartford HealthCare said Thursday it has committed to a 26-year plan to reduce its impact on the environment.

HHC said its goal is to cut its carbon footprint in half by 2030, with the ultimate goal of being carbon neutral by 2050. 

“Because we are an essential part of the fabric for our state and our communities, we also invest in the wellbeing of our cities and towns.,” said Jeffrey A. Flaks, HHC president and CEO.  “Now, just before Earth Day, Hartford HealthCare is proud to pledge its commitment to the sustainability of our larger home, the planet.” 

The healthcare system said its pledge solidifies work that earned it recognition from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in December for “public commitments to decarbonizing its operations and improving resilience in the face of climate change.” 

Thomas Vaccarelli, vice president of facilities, said that just 15% of hospitals nationwide responded to HHS’s Health Sector Climate Pledge. 

All of the health system’s seven hospitals, as well its post-acute care facilities and assisted living homes, are included in the environmental commitment, HHC said.

The pledge broadly addresses reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. Examples of projects HHC will undertake include:

  • Monitoring the operation and maintenance of HVAC equipment and switching to clean, renewable energy when feasible.
  • Building new construction to federal LEED energy efficiency requirements, submitting for certification when feasible.
  • Exploring opportunities to reduce, reuse and recycle, and adopting waste-to-energy strategies when feasible.
  • Evaluating rooftop space for green roofs, cool roofs and solar panels.
  • Identifying opportunities to reduce unnecessary medication waste.
  • Setting thermostats at efficient temperature settings by season.

Carbon neutrality means balancing the amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere with the amount removed. It can reduce the effects of climate change and global warming, which are caused by a build-up of greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) praised HHC for the initiative. 

“We all have an important role to play in fighting the climate crisis, and it is encouraging to see increasing numbers of private and public sector entities being mindful of their carbon footprint, and setting intentions to reduce their emissions,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said.

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