The Valley Hospital was recently recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for its public commitments to decarbonizing its operations and improving resilience in the face of climate change.
As part of the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP28, HHS shared that the Valley Hospital has remained one of the 133 health companies, representing 900 hospitals, across the country committed to the White House-HHS Health Sector Climate Pledge, aligning with President Joe Biden’s administration’s goal of reducing emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
“In keeping with this commitment, sustainability was a guiding principle of design for the Valley Hospital in Paramus,” CEO and President Audrey Meyers of Valley Health System said. “The design of the hospital incorporates best practices in energy efficiency and was designed, built and will operate using environmentally friendly principles and processes.”
Some 30% of the hospital’s grounds are dedicated to open green space, including gardens, walking paths and green roofs, which involve growing plants on the facility rooftops. Additionally, the hospital will also feature a cogeneration plant, which will produce 30-40% of its power, depending on the season. The plant will allow the hospital to produce its own steam, hot water and air conditioning, all while reducing the plant’s carbon footprint.
Valley anticipates its new hospital will achieve gold-level status for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification.
A September 2021 consensus statement from more than 200 medical journals named climate change the No. 1 threat to global public health. It exposes millions of people in the U.S. to harm every year — with disproportionate impacts on communities that are often already the victims of longstanding discrimination — through increases in extreme heat waves, wildfires, flooding, vector-borne diseases and other factors that worsen chronic health conditions. The health care sector also contributes to climate change itself, accounting for approximately 8.5% of U.S. domestic emissions.
The HHS Office of Climate Change and Health Equity, part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, developed the White House-HHS Health Sector Climate Pledge to help focus industry response to climate challenges. In addition to reducing their carbon footprint, signatories also commit to producing detailed plans to prepare their facilities for both chronic and acute catastrophic climate impacts.
One hundred and thirty-three prominent health companies in the U.S. have signed the White House-HHS Health Sector Climate Pledge, including organizations representing 900 hospitals as well as leading health centers, suppliers, insurance companies, group purchasing organizations, pharmaceutical companies and more.