Kaiser Permanente has received a 2013 Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the organization’s use of solar power. The annual awards recognize the country’s leading green power users for their commitment and contribution to helping advance the development of the nation’s voluntary green power market.
EPA presented Kaiser Permanente with the award at its Renewable Energy Markets Conference in Austin, Texas, on Sept. 23.
Kaiser Permanente was one of only four organizations nationwide to receive a Leadership Award for the onsite generation of power from renewable resources. The award recognizes organizations that distinguish themselves by using onsite renewable energy, such as solar photovoltaic or landfill gas.
Kaiser Permanente generates more than 17 million kilowatt-hours of power annually from multiple onsite solar energy systems in California. The systems generate enough power to meet 7 percent of the annual electricity needs at these sites, and 1 percent of the organization’s nationwide electricity use as of 2012. Kaiser Permanente also supported the development of clean, wind-generated electricity by purchasing 42 million kWh of Green-e certified Renewable Energy Credits in 2012. This wind power covered an additional 3 percent of Kaiser Permanente’s electricity needs in 2012, and avoided an estimated 41,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
“Kaiser Permanente understands that the health of the environment is inextricably linked to human health and the overall health of communities,” said Bernard J. Tyson, CEO of Kaiser Permanente. “Our use of solar and other forms of renewable energy reduces harmful emissions and contributes to climate change solutions that improve public health. We are tremendously proud to be recognized for these efforts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the foremost force for protecting human health and the environment in the country.”
Kaiser Permanente completed an installation of 11 megawatts of solar generation capacity at 11 of its California facilities in 2011. The project paved the way for additional renewable energy projects that are helping the organization reduce carbon emissions. By 2014, Kaiser Permanente expects to put two additional megawatts of solar capacity at its Moanalua Medical Center and eight other medical offices in Hawaii and Colorado.
Kaiser Permanente currently ranks No. 12 on EPA’s Top 20 onsite generation list, which highlights EPA Green Power Partners that have achieved the highest annual onsite green power generation through July 3, 2013. EPA updates its Top Partner Lists quarterly at http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/toplists/.
Green power is electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, bio gas, biomass and low-impact hydroelectric power. Using green power accelerates the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide and helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.
“EPA is pleased to recognize Kaiser Permanente with a Green Power Leadership Award for its distinguished commitment to using onsite renewable energy resources,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “By investing in onsite green power, Kaiser Permanente is generating cleaner electricity and reducing harmful carbon pollution, and providing a clear example of an organization thriving on innovation and sustainability.”
According to the EPA, Kaiser Permanente’s current solar power generation of more than 17 million kilowatt-hours is equivalent to avoiding the greenhouse gas emissions of nearly 2,500 passenger vehicles per year, or is the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity used in nearly 1,800 average American homes annually.
Kaiser Permanente is a health care leader in sustainable energy, purchasing safer materials, sourcing sustainable food and reducing waste. For example, the organization has committed to aggressive targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions through onsite renewable energy use and energy-conservation measures; providing sustainable food for its patient meals; safe reprocessing of single-use medical devices to eliminate waste; and eliminating toxins such as DEHP and PVC from many of its medical supplies. In May 2013, the organization committed to pursuing LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)Gold certification of all of its future hospitals, large medical offices and other major projects.