How we’re improving our energy use

January 17, 2023 Providence Environmental Stewardship


In this article:

  • Providence has developed the WE ACT framework to focus on five key areas of environmental stewardship: Waste, Energy and water, Agriculture and food, Chemicals, and Transportation.  

  • Providence is a leader on the national stage when it comes to environmental stewardship in the health care sector, including a scorecard to track many greenhouse gas emissions, including those from energy.

  • Energy is a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions in health care and is an essential focus area for Providence – especially given our goal of being carbon negative by 2030.

A healthy planet is a critical part of our collective health. In line with our goal of being carbon negative by 2030, Providence and our ministries are leading the health care sector when it comes to environmental stewardship and energy conservation. Along with waste, agriculture and food, chemicals and transportation, our WE ACT Framework and Scorecard works to identify, measure and address emissions through systemwide data collection.

Energy production is a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions globally. The health care sector is a major contributor to these emissions, accounting for 8% of all energy use in the U.S.

Because of this high area of impact, energy is an essential area of focus to meet our goal of being carbon negative by 2030 and one that can affect real change now. Our strategic, 3-5 year plan focusing on energy brings a system-wide approach to curb usage – and one that’s already being implemented.

Energy use at Providence

When it comes to types of emissions, organizations focus on scope 1 and scope 2 emissions. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), scope 1 emissions include direct greenhouse gas emissions from sources controlled by an organization. Scope 2 emissions, meanwhile, are indirect greenhouse gas emissions from purchased electricity, and steam. Scope 2 emissions are counted in an organization’s emissions since they are the result of its energy use, even if the emissions did not occur at an owned facility.

At Providence, our WE ACT Scorecard tracks both scope 1 (directly produced) and scope 2 (indirectly produced) energy emissions. Metrics tracked on the scorecard include usage, costs, and carbon emissions for:

  • Diesel
  • Electricity
  • Fuel oil
  • Natural gas
  • Propane
  • Steam
  • Through the scorecard, we found that most of the emissions in the system come from:           


In health care, sustainable and renewable energy technologies are mature enough to be reliable for systemwide use. As a result, Providence is implementing strategies for acquiring renewable electricity. Our goal is to work toward purchasing electricity that comes from 100% renewable sources. Already, Providence partners with Schneider Electric to procure renewable energy and obtain energy data for the WE ACT scorecard.

Our ministries’ success

In addition to system-wide efforts, many of our ministries are taking the initiative to reduce energy emissions in localized ways:

  • Two Spokane-area hospitals and a long-term care facility completed energy assessments to better understand their energy usage.
  • As required in the Clean Buildings Act, 30 ministries in Washington state completed energy profiles to report to the State Department of Commerce.
  • The Mill Creek Medical Office Building replaced its air handling units, resulting in a 42% energy efficiency improvement and a $93,000 grant from the local utility company.
  • Providence Swedish Issaquah campus applied for ENERGY STAR certification.
  • As a system, we have scoped a large-scale LED lighting retrofit project. LED lighting brings cost savings, maintenance benefits, less waste and better lighting quality for our patients and team. Many of our organizations, including Swedish hospitals and Kadlec clinics, have either completed or are in progress with this retrofit. Many of these efforts were paid for through utility grants and cost savings from the more efficient lightbulbs.

These and more creative solutions are benefiting all aspects of Providence and the care we can provide for our patients.  

Learn more about energy use in health care

Reducing our emissions takes a team effort. Here are some resources on how energy is used throughout the health care sector.

Healthcare: An Overview of Energy Use and Energy Efficiency Opportunities

Integrating Health and Energy Efficiency in Healthcare Facilities

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Related resources

Environmental Stewardship at Providence: WE ACT 2022 Year in Review

How we’re reducing the carbon intensity of food

How we’re cutting down our landfill waste


This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional’s instructions.


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