Rochester Regional Health announces green energy initiative

Oct 20, 2017
Originally published on October 20, 2017 12:51 pm

Rochester Regional Health says it intends to source 100 percent of the electricity it uses from renewable energy sources and carbon free production by the year 2025.

President and CEO Eric Bieber says that's a big deal, and the organization will have to things differently as they go forward. 

But he maintains it's the right thing to do, and it equates to taking scores of cars off the road and burning many tons less coal.

"It's the right thing to do not only for our community, but for all communities.  We want to create health care that's sustainable for the future.  We want to make sure that we're providing the greatest wellness, and taking care of our patients that need help when they're sick, and with chronic disease.  But we also want to make sure that the environment is such that we have a great environment 25 years from now, and a hundred years from now," he said.

Rochester Regional has installed solar panels on the roof of its Riedman campus, and they are starting to generate electricity.

Director of Sustainability, Mike Waller, says the panels will produce about 550 thousand kilowatt hours, equivalent to the electricity use of about 75 homes in a year.

And by using this clean, renewable electricity, Rochester Regional will reduce its annual carbon emissions by the equivalent of burning 410 thousand pounds of coal per year -- about the same as taking 81 cars off the road.

"We feel that this is something health care should lead in.  Because all of the problems the climate is causing, really come back to human health-related issues," he said.

Waller notes by reducing electricity use, and spending less on electricity, that money can be put back into patient care.

Waller says the health care sector understands that what we are doing to negatively impact our climate is hurting people.

He adds this not only helps the environment, it's a good business decision, as well.

RRH says the path to 100 percent renewable electricity will take a three-pronged approach over the next several years.

That includes reducing electricity use, increasing on and off-site generation of renewable energy and committing to only purchasing renewable electricity for its remaining needs.

Here's a drone's eye view of the solar panels at the Riedman campus, courtesy Rochester Regional Health:

Here's Dr. Bieber talking about Rochester Regional's commitment to health and the environment: