Amidst the heightened environmental consciousness in the UAE during the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), the healthcare sector took centre stage on the fourth day of the conference, designated as Health Day. Through its contributions and interventions, the sector emerged as a pivotal player in the path toward shaping a sustainable and climate-resilient ecosystem.
This role has long been acknowledged in the UAE, and at the start of 2023, the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), the regulator of the healthcare sector in the emirate, unveiled Abu Dhabi’s healthcare sustainability goals with the aim of reducing carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2030 and reaching Net Zero by 2050.
One of the main players in the emirate’s healthcare industry’s green transformative journey is Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. The hospital’s operations lie at the heart of the intersection of healthcare and sustainability, where care extends beyond its facilities and considers the well-being of the planet.
Marc Petre, Chief Operating Officer at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, speaks to us about the hospital’s role in fostering environmental responsibility and reducing carbon footprint in a way that aligns with the DoH’s sustainability goals, contributing to the realisation of a more responsible future.
“We have been working on decarbonising our operations since inception. In 2022, we recorded an 11.3 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to our 2017 baseline. We now aim for a further reduction to 21 per cent by the end of 2030, aligning with the DoH’s benchmark for the emirate of Abu Dhabi. As we progress toward our 2030 goal, we're proud to make significant strides while maintaining the delivery of complex, world-class patient care,” says Petre.
The senior hospital executive shed light on multiple initiatives currently in place at the hospital. “Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has achieved a 10 per cent reduction in energy consumption costs through the implementation of our building’s designated green model,” he highlighted. “We have recommissioned many spaces to optimise air handlers while meeting cooling requirements. This helped us ‘optimise to occupancy’ and the suitable temperatures for various seasons. In areas with infrequent or only daytime use, we have implemented systems to automatically turn off lights and adjust the temperature. To better manage fresh water usage, we utilise our air conditioning condensate and run off from our dialysis water system to irrigate the grounds of the campus. We’re currently recapitalising original hospital equipment with modern technology for systems like fans and pumps, with the aim of achieving an overall 10 to 20 per cent increase in energy efficiency.”
With a view toward promoting infrastructure sustainability, the DoH has been working closely with healthcare facilities like Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi that are enabling the implementation of green building methodologies.
On Health Day at COP28, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi was one of three hospitals that claimed the Emerald Muashir Award in the ’Large Hospital’ category, meeting the DoH’s criteria covering infrastructure, operation, and healthcare waste.
The hospital is no stranger to international green building standards. In addition to two other international sustainability awards, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and the Fatima bint Mubarak Center have previously achieved the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification from the United States Green Building Council.
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is also extending its green efforts toward environment-conscious procurement. Petre explained, “With the government’s support of sustainable procurement operations, and as part of a larger partnership with M42, several new businesses have been brought into the UAE. Previously, we would have had to import healthcare supplies such as masks and incur the associated transportation costs and emissions. In addition, we are working with local distributors to cut down on their transport emissions. If we can move from daily deliveries to deliveries every other day, then we can cut the emissions in half. This will make an impact on our Scope 3 emissions, which include emissions originating from the distribution, transportation, and disposal of goods and services procured.”
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi stands as a model of sustainable healthcare practices, embodying the intersection of environmental responsibility and cutting-edge medical care. Reflecting on the hospital's accomplishments in reducing carbon emissions, optimising energy consumption, and embracing green building methodologies, it becomes apparent that these endeavours not only conform to the ambitious sustainability objectives set by the DoH but also establish a benchmark for healthcare institutions on a global scale.