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Sharp is first local health system to go 100% clean energy

By The Health News Team | April 21, 2022
Solar panels at Sharp Rees-Stealy’s downtown medical center

Sharp Rees-Stealy’s downtown medical center — which demonstrates design strategies for energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction and more — is one of many Sharp facilities that will help the organization meet its environmental goals.

According to Sharp HealthCare, it is easy being green. San Diego Community Power (SDCP), the not-for-profit community choice energy program, recently announced Sharp has opted up to their “Power100” energy tier, which means San Diego’s health care leader will now power all facilities eligible for SDCP service with 100% clean, renewable energy.

In doing so, Sharp estimates it will remove more than 6,500 metric tons of CO2 a year — or 18 metric tons per day — from the environment. This is the equivalent of reducing gas usage by 2,205 gallons per day.

SDCP noted that Sharp’s example of environmental stewardship aligns with the U.N.’s latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which calls for urgent action to curb global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions. The report confirms that these shifts in energy usage will play a critical role in limiting global warming.

Sharp: always — and All Ways — Green
Sharp has long focused its “All Ways Green” sustainability efforts on energy efficiency, water conservation, waste minimization, sustainable food practices and commuting solutions for its 19,000 workers. All Ways Green is Sharp’s systemwide initiative to become an environmentally aware and beneficial organization.

In addition to being the region’s first health care provider to choose 100% renewable energy, Sharp was also the first health care system in the county to offer electric vehicle charging stations for employees and visitors. Sharp also reprocesses used medical supplies to support health care in developing nations and partners with Imperfect Produce to use food rejected by grocery vendors for patient and visitor meals. Many of Sharp’s major facilities are also Energy Star- or LEED-certified.

Clean energy sources as preventive medicine
Sharp, known for its dedication to the physical health of its patients, employees and community, recognizes that a healthy environment is directly tied to individual well-being. According to Dr. Angie Neison, a board-certified family medicine doctor with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, Sharp’s commitment to 100% renewable energy will have a long-term, ripple effect not only for patients but also for generations of the San Diego community.

“The effects from climate change are now evident in our clinics and among our patients, with increasing asthma, allergies, heat exhaustion, cardiovascular disease and cancers,” Dr. Neison says. “This commitment toward clean energy sources is the best preventive medicine and gets to the root causes of the climate crisis’ impacts on health.”

Additionally, Dr. Neison reports that choosing to move away from fossil fuels is a bold move toward climate health equity. “Many disadvantaged communities bear the brunt of climate-induced health risks from extreme heat and poor air quality,” she says. “These decisions make me proud of what Sharp stands for: health equity.

What San Diegans can do to help
Dr. Neison encourages San Diegans to get involved in sustainability at home. Residential and business power customers in San Diego are now automatically enrolled in the new Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program. The program’s PowerOn standard service provides 50% of a resident’s energy from renewable sources, such as wind and solar, and 5% greenhouse gas-free electricity. The Power100 option — Sharp’s energy tier — provides 100% renewable, 100% carbon-free electricity.

Not only does the program offer San Diegans affordable options for cleaner energy, she says, it also invests in our planet’s health. “We can’t just think about ourselves,” she says. “The next generation will be the most affected. It is our moral obligation to respond.”

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