At BMC, we are dedicated to reducing our carbon footprint because we know that healthier hospitals mean healthier communities. BMC is widely known as the greenest hospital in the city, and we are transforming our clinical campus so that we can thrive well into the future.
In recognition of our sustainability work, BMC was invited to the White House and is among 650 hospitals across the country who have joined a Biden Administration initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030.
Our efforts have reduced our utilities bill by over $7 million per year, and we have invested those savings back into patient care.
Read more about some of the highlights of our sustainability efforts.
Cogeneration Power Plant
Since the spring of 2017, Boston Medical Center has been generating much of its own electricity and heat through a natural gas-fired, two-megawatt combined heat and power plant (CHP).
Traditional power plants, which release excess heat into the atmosphere, operate at about 35 percent efficiency. Cogen technology, which instead traps and reuses the heat, operates at 70 percent efficiency.
Cogen also has “black start” capability, meaning that if the electric grid goes down, the hospital can restart the cogen plant and heat and power its inpatient units on an “island” for months at a time, as long as it has a supply of natural gas. The cogen plant is located on the roof of the Yawkey building, high above any potential floodwaters. In addition to powering and heating much of the hospital, the cogen facility will also serve as a backup power source for city and state emergency communications.
“We’ve learned lessons from Hurricane Katrina and Sandy, which devastated the health care infrastructure in their communities,” said Bob Biggio, Senior Vice President for Facilities and Support Services. “Hospitals that had cogen were able to stay open and care for patients, while those without cogen were forced to evacuate. As the largest safety-net hospital and biggest trauma center in New England, we have an obligation to protect our patients in a natural disaster. Cogen gives us the ability to continue to care for the most vulnerable population in our city, even when the electric grid goes down.”
BMC's Rooftop Farm is a 2,658 square foot farm with more than 25 crops situated on top of our Power Plant building. The farm not only provides fresh, local produce to our hospitalized patients, cafeterias, Teaching Kitchen, and Preventive Food Pantry, but is also part of BMC's commitment to going green. The farm reduces the hospital's carbon footprint, increases green space, and reduces energy use, including the energy required to transport food.
BMC Brockton Behavioral Health Center
Environmental impact was a top consideration for the BMC Brockton Behavioral Health Center, a facility that opened in 2022. As part of BMC's commitment to climate justice, the cutting-edge facility is a major investment into the health and wellness of a predominantly poor and racially diverse patient base.
The Center is a net-zero facility, reportedly the first of its kind for a behavioral health center in the U.S. The site uses geothermal heating, and runs off renewable, sustainable energy via solar panels and wells.
In 2016, Boston Medical Center took a major step toward a carbon-neutral campus with an innovative solar purchase and partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Post Office Square Redevelopment Corporation.
The agreement enabled the construction of Summit Farms in North Carolina, the largest renewable-energy project ever built in the U.S.
BMC is committed to purchasing 26 percent of the power generated by the solar array, which is equivalent to 100 percent of BMC’s projected electric consumption.