If You're Going to Spring for Carbon Credits, Do it Right

Or just ask the US House of Representatives what kind of flack you're likely to catch for shoddy carbon usage accounting.

A hospital is like a fort - a self-contained mini-city that relies on outside commerce to keep things running.

It should be patently obvious that energy usage varies tremendously by size, number of employees (and by shift - have you examined the night/day differential?), average commute, number of suppliers using overland transport (and how many shipments you receive weekly) and a host of other factors.

You can't just pull carbon usage figures from hospitals (or other firms) of similar size and expect them to be realistic sums of your output. You also need to think carefully about how monies targeted for improving energy usage will be spent.

I've written before about the greening of hospitals via the Hospitals for a Healthier Environment program (soon to be renamed Practice Greenhealth) and other initiatives the US Energy Star program - both are good starting places for sensibly calibrating current energy usage before your leadership team sets goals for future reductions.

Also, if you're looking to adopt green initiatives because they'll save energy and money - let all of us know you like them because...they'll save energy and money.

Don't fool yourself (or your Board, or your various committees, customers, or employees) into thinking you're doing it solely to save those polar bears you saw drowning in An Inconvenient Truth.

While it's perfectly acceptable (and admirable) to have lofty motives in mind when moving your organization toward a more sustainable energy policy, it's disingenuous to present your aims as 100% pure morality candy when they also add significantly to the bottom line.

If you're looking to go carbon neutral or purchase some offset credits, for goodness sake please consult a team with experience calculating usage for a wide variety of industries.

I personally like TerraPass, but would love to hear about firms others are using to figure out smarter energy policies, including the purchase of carbon credits.

No comments: