#ActOnClimate : First White House Summit on Climate Change and Health

White House Summit on Climate Change and Health 57881
White House Summit on Climate Change and Health – Representatives of the Health Care Climate Council (View on Flickr.com)

Kaiser Permanente (@KPShare) is a member of the Health Care Climate Council and one of the greenest health systems in the world.

It was a great honor to share several rooms at the White House (@WhiteHouse) yesterday with other committed health leaders, at the first Summit on Climate Change and Health.

I was present to give a 4 minute overview of Kaiser Permanente’s renewable energy projects. The text of that overview is below. You can see the infographic version on this post. Additional photos also below. Enjoy, comments welcome.

I’m Ted Eytan,
Here on behalf of Kaiser Permanente, nation’s largest non-profit health system, a member of the Health Care Climate Council

I’m a Kaiser Permanente family physician , I work for our medical groups at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health, which is KP’s social innovation center, based here in Washington, DC

I’d like to tell you what we’re doing and then I’d like to tell you why we’re doing it

We’re supplementing our use of green power with three large renewable energy projects that will come online in 2016

110 Megawatts of Solar Power capacity Blythe solar plant in Riverside, CA
43 Megawatts of Wind power from turbines at Golden Hills wind farm in Altamont Pass, California, where Kaiser Permanente will support the replacement of less-efficient turbines on the wind farm with new, more efficient equipment

Solar arrays that will be added to 170 hospitals and facilities in California, for another 70 MegaWatts of capacity

This is in addition to the 17 Megawatts we’ve been generating in California, and green energy projects across the 8 States and District of Columbia

Here in DC, Wind power purchases match 100% of our electricity use in our DC and Maryland based Medical office buildings and our east coast data center

Similar projects are operational now in Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii

In human terms,
Enough power to supply 82,000 homes, and avoidance of carbon emissions equivalent from 45,274 cars

Will supply half the electricity needs for Kaiser Permanente in California.

To give a sense of the energy intensity of health care, Kaiser Permanente uses nearly 1.5 billion kilowatt hours of electricity a year, and emits 806,000 metric tons of harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere

These projects make Kaiser Permanente one of the top users of green power in the country and takes us down to 617,000 metric tons, three years earlier than promised, at the same time we are helping more people and communities achieve their life goals through total health – over 10,000,000 members.

By the way, these renewable energy sources don’t require the transportation, pumping, and heating of water, so we will reduce our water consumption by over 100 million gallons, in a part of the United States where there is a serious drought

Clearly, this investment is better for health because we can provide more preventive and other health services with less resources and less impact on the communities we serve.

I’ve been a Permanente physician for 15 years, and what I’ve learned since I came here is how much can be done by health care. That’s why we’re here.

Much of what we are doing today has been happening long before I was born. Kaiser Permanente was built for health.

Our iconic co-founder, American Industrialist Henry J. Kaiser, ordered the first steel mill west of the rockies to be the cleanest ever built. Physician entrepreneur and co-founder Sidney Garfield, MD, who designed futuristic health facilities that provided the most gentle surroundings for healing, with the least impact on the environment.

we’ve known that greenhouse gas emissions are a known contributor to climate change and the rise of pollution and disease,

our focus on health drives a portfolio of environmental stewardship that includes LEED certified green health facilities, diverting recyclables and compostables from landfills, reducing the use of harmful chemicals, and promoting sustainable food choices – to learn more -> kp.org/green.

These actions help doctors, nurses, and all health professionals to provide nationally recognized, high quality, affordable health care.

Being here with more and more health systems demonstrates that we’re not alone in understanding the link between environmental stewardship, health, and the ability to heal.

This past week was Millennial Week in DC, and Kaiser Permanente was one of the sponsors. There, I was reminded of our responsibility to our future patients and their future doctors, nurses, and other health professionals. They expect that institutions including health care protect the communities’ health.

Of the 16 million people in the Health Care workforce today, 200,000 of them work at Kaiser Permanente – I am very excited that our generation has the ability to think of total health AND do something meaningful for the people who come after us.


Ted Eytan, MD