Renewable energy generation, support for alternative energy sources, & consumption efficiency

Hospital Santa Izabel, Brazil

Case study summary

The Santa Casa de Misericordia da Bahia – Hospital Santa Izabel (HSI) has structured a management program for the efficiency of its power grid, including photovoltaic plant generation, renewable energy consumption, and actions for the efficiency and improvement of consumption habits.


Demographic information

  • City: Salvador
  • State/province/region: Bahia
  • Country: Brazil
  • Type of institution: Hospital (philanthropic organization)
  • Number of full-time staff: 3,600
  • Number of beds: 483 beds
  • Patient population served annually 
    • 115,000 patients served annually (total of inpatient and outpatient)
    • Geographic area served by your institution: Salvador and metropolitan area.

The issue

Encouraged by the Health Care Climate Challenge and  Projeto Hospitais Saudaveis Healthy Hospitals Project to reach the annual goal of reducing GHG emissions and meet the UN's sustainable development goals, HSI established an energy management program in 2017 to promote sustainable actions focused on consumption efficiency across different scales and internal hospital units. Brazil's dependence on hydropower exacerbates climate impacts, and the use of thermal power can also be detrimental. If not using renewable sources, energy consumption would account for about 45% of the total GHG emissions for the hospital.

Hospital goal

The main objective of this project is to reduce the negative environmental impacts associated with fossil fuel energy and excessive electricity consumption. This includes actions to improve the efficiency of electricity consumption at HSI and its external units through better internal use of this resource.

Sustainability strategy implemented

HSI has incorporated strategies into its planning for a coordinated effort to reduce GHG emissions in the coming years, as well as spread environmental awareness and education to protect future generations. Scope 2 is the main source of GHG emissions for this hospital. The energy management program was chosen to ensure 100% consumption from renewable sources, eliminate scope 2 emissions, reduce waste, and optimize electricity consumption.

Implementation process

Brazil is focused on reducing electricity consumption and fossil fuel generation in the country. The HSI program was divided into seven main steps: air conditioning and refrigeration; photovoltaic power plants; solar thermal energy; efficient lighting; indoor energy monitoring; improving consumption habits; and free market renewable energy procurement. This was a multidisciplinary program developed by the environment, engineering, and maintenance teams, which contributed to the project's success. There was also an improvement in employees’ consumption and waste disposal habits through continuous training including online courses and a strong internal communication campaign. In summary, 35 internal energy meters were installed to monitor sectors in buildings and units, in addition to 119 solar panels for water heating, readjustment of the chilled water system, installation of photovoltaic plants, and replacement of 9,550 light bulbs with LED technology.


Tracking progress

For this project, historical electricity consumption data were recorded through a real-time measurement system, enabling an analysis of projected and actual progress, as well as the gains achieved after the project's implementation. Additionally, sector-specific energy efficiency measures were implemented, targeting internal sectors that were consuming energy above the theoretical level. Based on the measurement system and the reduction in consumption, emissions reductions were calculated using the GHG protocol calculation methodology.


Progress achieved

In the energy management program, savings of about USD 68,000.00 per year have already been guaranteed. The photovoltaic plants have been in operation since June 2019, with annual savings of USD 18,000.00. With the continuity of Santa Casa da Bahia purchasing renewable energy through the free market for the HSI, an average annual economy of USD 382,000.00 is obtained in relation to the closed market (energy sold directly by the state utility company). A thermal energy project called "hybrid laundry" was implemented in HSI's internal laundry department in September 2022, resulting in annual savings of USD 130,000 and a 30 to 40% reduction in scope 1 GHG emissions. In addition to social benefits such as welfare promotion, these actions resulted in the reduction of 499 tons of CO₂e.


Challenges and lessons learned

The model implemented at HSI positively achieved social, environmental, and economic benefits, reinforcing the concept of sustainability and its applicability. The organization is aware that this is just the beginning. This is an ongoing process, with the need to refine some actions, improve control, update technologies, increase user awareness, and encourage employee involvement. The organization knows that without people's participation, the project's progress will be limited. People have the true power of transformation.

Next steps

The challenge to change health care operations is significant, and the Race to Zero is the ideal tool. In this sense, to further enhance HSI results with Race to Zero, Santa Casa da Bahia is currently studying or implementing the following actions:

  • Transition to 100% renewable energy in laundry;
  • ProvideHSI with equipment powered by 100% renewable energy;
  • Set up a photovoltaic plant to supply HSI.