Reducing Our Environmental Impact

four women standing together holding awards in front of Ecomaine backdrop

Members of the MaineHealth Sustainability Committee received the 2023 Eco-Excellence Award from ecomaine, in honor of their commitment to promoting sustainability in Maine.

Health care does tremendous good, but the industry is also one of the highest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants.

After a successful sustainability pilot program at Maine Medical Center, MaineHealth leadership decided to incorporate environmental sustainability into the system-wide strategic plan and set a five-year target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25%. Working towards this target in 2023, 12 facilities that provide acute care to patients across the MaineHealth service area received environmental sustainability audits.

“Hospitals and inpatient care settings account for nearly 75% of all energy consumption in health care facilities. Prioritizing building audits with the highest energy consumption was a good place to start.”

– Mike Arsnow, MaineHealth Sustainability Manager

MaineHealth partnered with energy efficiency company Ameresco, whose teams conducted the audits. Three teams focused on energy (weatherization, lighting conditions and HVAC), and one evaluated water efficiency. Following the inspections, Ameresco reviewed each building’s historical utilities data and is now quantifying the impact of potential efficiency upgrades from a financial and environmental standpoint. Key stakeholders will review proposed energy and water conservation measures before implementation begins.

Grassroots Efforts from the Care Team

While there is significant opportunity to have a future large-scale impact, changes at the local and individual levels are already taking place. In February 2023, the MaineHealth Sustainability Committee received recognition from ecomaine for incorporating environmental sustainability strategies at MaineHealth.

Rebecca Brown, an RN at Maine Medical Center, was also recognized with an ecomaine Eco-Excellence award and the Stephanie Davis Waste Reduction and Pollution Prevention Award. These awards acknowledged her work diverting unused plastic medication bags from Maine Medical Center trash for recycling and reuse by Partners for World Health. Now, 50+ lbs. of plastic bags are collected and kept out of the landfill weekly.

Looking Ahead

Once investment-grade audits with cost estimates and emissions projections are finalized, MaineHealth plans to develop one to two sustainability projects for each of the 12 audited facilities, which ties in directly to its environmental sustainability goal for the fiscal year 2024.

woman in scrubs and masks holds large bag of recycled materials in a hospital hallway

Rebecca Brown, RN

MaineHealth 2023-2027 Strategic Plan

Learn more about how we are working together to advance our vision for the future. View Plan >