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Climate Resilience

Cleveland Clinic recognizes that the healthcare sector will be directly and indirectly affected by the impacts of climate change. Children, the elderly and the disadvantaged will be most at risk, and we are likely to see increases in heat-related disorders, respiratory disorders, infectious diseases, food insecurity, and mental health issues.

As a leader in healthcare, we understand we have an important role to play, and our response to these challenges will guide the evolution of our organization in the coming decades. We will continue to lead our sector and explore creative solutions to environmental challenges that benefit our community and support economic health. Our efforts are strategically aligned with those of our community, providing opportunities to collaborate, innovate and form meaningful shared goals.

Carbon Mitigation

Cleveland Clinic Scope 1 and 2

Cleveland Clinic’s 2016 scope 1 & 2 carbon footprint totaled 464,556 metric tons of CO2e. This is a 0.5% increase from 2015 and a 7% reduction from 2012. 76% of our footprint is from purchased electricity, 22% is from direct usage of fuels in assets owned by Cleveland Clinic and 2% is from anesthesia gases. More than 96% of our carbon footprint is located in Northeast Ohio in our Hospitals, Family Health Centers, Medical Office Buildings and Administrative Facilities.

CCF Carbon Footprint

Cleveland Clinic calculated its scope 1 & 2 carbon footprint using the GHG protocol for electricity, natural gas, fuels used by generators and vehicles and anesthesia gases. ENERGY STAR’s Portfolio Manager was used to calculate the electricity carbon footprint since it utilizes site specific eGRID factors for each location. For locations not tracked in portfolio manager a system average factor was applied to the electricity usage. Natural gas footprint was calculated using fuel usage for our owned fleet of patient transport vehicles, vans and cars was drawn from our central fleet management group. Anesthesia gas emissions were calculated based on purchased cylinder volumes and intensity factors from “Carbon Footprint from Anesthetic gas use” study published by UK’s Sustainable Development Unit in 2012.

Energy Efficiency

In 2016, Cleveland Clinic continued implementing a $12M enterprise energy demand reduction strategy to improve our energy efficiency and become less resource-intensive. By decreasing energy intensity, Cleveland Clinic is reducing our carbon footprint, providing value for our patients and leading the industry in responsible healthcare operations. As of December 2016, we have reduced our EUI by 13% from our 2010 baseline.

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Sustainable Transportation

Cleveland Clinic is a member of the University Circle’s Sustainable Transportation Action Committee (STAC). This committee’s mission is to support University Circle’s economic viability, visitor experience, environmental health and quality of life by increasing the utilization of sustainable transportation options among all travelers in the University Circle area.

In 2016, we conducted a transportation survey among caregivers who commute to work at our main campus located in University Circle. We discovered that our drive alone rate was 82% and that there is significant opportunity to increase our caregivers’ use of other sustainable modes of transportation. This survey serves as a baseline and will help influence our organizational strategy to achieve its goals.

In order to incentivize our caregivers to shift away from single-occupancy motor vehicle commutes, we offer RTA commuter advantage discounts, green vehicle rebates, and carpool preferred parking and discounts.

Metric Tons CO2e Avoided

In 2010, our transportation department implemented an enterprise fleet vehicle savings program. In 2016, we saved over 4,111 metric tons of CO2e as a result of this program – a 27% increase over 2015.

Climate Action Fund

 Cleveland Clinic was a founding member of the Cleveland Climate Action Fund alongside the City of Cleveland, Cleveland Foundation, George Gund Foundation, and the GreenCityBlueLake Institute at the Cleveland Clinic Museum of Natural History. The fund was founded as the first community-based, open-access carbon reduction fund in the United States with the goal of improving residents’ lives while mitigating carbon emissions.

Since inception in 2008, the Fund has invested thousands of dollars towards climate resiliency projects in Cleveland neighborhoods such as Kinsman, Detroit Shoreway, and Glenville. Cleveland Clinic is proud to support this initiative and work with the City of Cleveland on climate resiliency and adaptation for our communities.

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Tree Planting

Tree Hug
Tree Planting

In the late 1800s, the City of Cleveland was nicknamed The Forest City. However, according to the Cleveland Tree Plan, Cleveland has lost nearly 50% of its street trees from 1940 to today, and has retained only 19% of possible canopy coverage. Each year more than 97 acres of tree canopy is lost and coverage is expected to decline to 14% by 2040.

In 2016, the Office for a Healthy Environment and Hillcrest Hospital's Green Team partnered with the Western Reserve Land Conservatory to plant 10 trees at two local Mayfield City Schools. This initiative was spearheaded by Cleveland Clinic Akron General Hospital’s President Dr. Brian Harte and COO Kris Bennett. The event was used to promote the many health and environmental benefits of planting trees within our communities.

Additionally, we have started tracking the number of trees planted throughout our enterprise. Over 2,500 trees were planted during the completion of our Avon Hospital, and in 2016, nearly 460 trees were planted at our main campus.

Art + Environment: A Delicate Balance

Art Gallery
Art Gallery Viewers

In May 2016, the Office for a Healthy Environment and the Arts and Medicine Institute hosted a panel discussion and reception to celebrate the curated exhibition Art + Environment: A Delicate Balance. The panel consisted of the following local artists and leaders in sustainability focusing on environmental issues:

  • David Beach, Director of GreenCityBlueLake, Cleveland Museum of Natural History
  • Sumita Khatri, MD MS, Co-Director, Asthma Center, Cleveland Clinic
  • Rian Brown-Orso, Associate Professor, Oberlin College
  • Geoff Pingree, Professor of Cinema Studies & English, Oberlin College
  • Dana Depew, Visual Artist and CPAC Creative Workforce Fellow

The exhibition was a combination of work on loan from local Northeast Ohio artists and artwork from the permanent collection of Cleveland Clinic. The Cleveland Clinic Art Program organizes several exhibitions each year, which are seen in this dedicated exhibition area. The mission of the Art Program is to enrich, inspire and enliven our patients, visitors, employees and community and to embody the core values of the institution.

Healthcare Climate Council

Health Care Climate Council Logo

Cleveland Clinic is a member of Health Care Without Harm’s Climate Council.  The council is open to hospitals and health systems that recognize climate change is one of the single largest threats to public health and committed to addressing its health impacts. The council’s mission is to amplify public and private responses to climate change by:

  • Accelerating investment in renewable energy and efficiency;
  • Scaling the healthcare sector’s adoption of climate change mitigation and resilience programs; and
  • Advocating for local, state and national policies that ensure a sustainable and healthy future

As a leader in healthcare and an anchor institution in our communities, Cleveland Clinic recognizes that and our response to these challenges will guide the evolution of our organization in the coming decades. In 2016, the Office for a Healthy Environment continued collaborating with other council health systems on the policy implications affecting climate change and population health.

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Regulated Air Emissions

EPA Air Title V Emission for Cleveland Clinic's main campus

Air Pollutant 2014 Emissions Total (Tons) 2015 Emissions Total (Tons) 2016 Emissions Total (Tons)
Nitrogen Oxides 31.0 31.6 15.8
Sulfur Dioxide 0.4 0.5 0.3
Organic Compounds 3.6 4.9 4.2
Primary Particulate Matter 4.4 4.1 2.1
Volatile Organic Compounds 2.4 2.7 2.2
Carbon Monoxide 33.8 33.8 32.1
Total of Chargeable Pollutants 35.8 37.8 21.0

Small Changes = Big Impact

On Earth Day, 2016, Our CEO and President, Dr. Toby Cosgrove blogged on our climate change and energy efficiency progress on his Linkedin page.

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Carbon Footprint Reduction

Cleveland Clinic has reduced its scope 1 & 2 carbon footprint 7% from its 2012 baseline.

Climate Resilience Toolkit

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