The HHS Sustainable and Climate Resilient Health Care Facilities Initiative

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Wednesday, 7 January 2015: 9:15 AM
221A-C (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
John Balbus, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD

Like other sectors, the health care sector must face the twin 21st century challenges of sustainability and climate resilience. Experiences with weather-related disasters like Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina testify to the need for enhanced resilience of not only buildings and energy systems but also health care staff and operations in order to meet the needs of affected communities. And while not all sustainability measures also enhance resilience, improving efficiency of electrical and water systems not only reduces day to day operating costs, but also prolongs the time health care facilities can operate in the setting of constrained energy and water supplies. Understanding broader community vulnerabilities to climate change impacts can also help health care facilities prepare for temperature and precipitation extremes, sea level rise, and other manifestations of climate change.

This presentation will describe the initiative begun as part of the President's Climate Action Plan to promote enhanced sustainability and climate resilience in health care facilities. Building on existing all-hazards preparedness initiatives and public-private partnerships, the Sustainable and Climate Resilient Health Care Facilities Initiative has developed and is disseminating an information tool kit for use by a wide range of health care facilities to assess their specific vulnerabilities and identify potential measures to address those vulnerabilities. This presentation will describe the current state of the Initiative and identify the types of data and information provided by the tool kit as well as important gaps.