Can sustainable hospitals help bend the health care cost curve?

Issue Brief (Commonw Fund). 2012 Nov;29:1-14.


As policymakers seek to rein in the nation's escalating health care costs, one area deserving attention is the health system's costly environmental footprint. This study examines data from selected hospitals that have implemented programs to reduce energy use and waste and achieve operating room supply efficiencies. After standardizing metrics across the hospitals studied and generalizing results to hospitals nationwide, the analysis finds that savings achievable through these interventions could exceed $5.4 billion over five years and $15 billion over 10 years. Given the return on investment, the authors rec­ommend that all hospitals adopt such programs and, in cases where capital investments could be financially burdensome, that public funds be used to provide loans or grants, particularly to safety-net hospitals.

MeSH terms

  • Conservation of Energy Resources / economics*
  • Conservation of Energy Resources / methods
  • Cost Control / economics
  • Cost Control / methods*
  • Cost Savings / economics
  • Cost Savings / methods*
  • Economics, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Equipment Reuse / economics*
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Humans
  • Operating Rooms / economics*
  • Renewable Energy / economics*
  • United States
  • Waste Management / economics*
  • Waste Management / methods