Advocate to use 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030

  • A lake adjacent to Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin provides geothermal energy used to cool the building and reduce reliance on electricity for air conditioning.

    A lake adjacent to Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin provides geothermal energy used to cool the building and reduce reliance on electricity for air conditioning. Courtesy of Advocate Aurora Health

Daily Herald report
Updated 1/2/2019 10:46 AM

Advocate Aurora Health officials have announced the health care giant will rely solely on renewable electricity sources to power its 27 hospitals and 500-plus outpatient facilities by 2030.

Citing asthma as a "significant health issue" in the communities in Illinois and Wisconsin served by its various treatment centers, Advocate Aurora officials said the move will eliminate nearly 400,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.


That's essentially comparable to removing 84,000 passenger cars from the road each year, hospital officials said.

"Clean power produces clean air, and clean air helps save lives," says Bill Santulli, chief operations officer of Advocate Aurora Health. "This commitment builds upon our strong track record of leadership in sustainability and environmental stewardship."

The hospital group will increase wind, solar and geothermal infrastructure at its existing buildings where physically and economically possible and will only purchase electricity from renewable sources, said Mary Larsen, Advocate Aurora's director of environmental affairs and sustainability.

How much purchasing of electricity will be offset by infrastructure upgrades is unknown, she added.

Some facilities are already outfitted with renewable electricity infrastructure, like Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin, which relies on the geothermal power of an adjacent lake to help modulate the hospital's air temperature and decrease the need for air conditioning.

Advocate Aurora officials said they are the first health system in Illinois to announce such a transition. Other health care operators in Wisconsin and across the U.S. have made similar pledges, they said.

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"As the 10th largest not-for-profit integrated health system in the country, it's imperative that we help lead the way toward a healthy environment that can support healthy people," Larsen said.

"Transitioning to clean energy reduces air pollution that is responsible for many chronic health conditions and mitigates the health impacts of climate change."

Advocate Aurora Health is a member of the Health Care Climate Council and among 180 participants -- representing the interests of more than 17,000 hospitals and health centers in 26 countries -- that have accepted the Health Care Climate Challenge, which mobilizes health care institutions to protect public health from climate change.

Six Advocate Aurora Health hospitals were recently named among the 60 greenest in the nation by Becker's Hospital Review.

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