Hackensack Meridian Health Announces Major Solar Energy Initiative – njbmagazine.com

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Bernhard, one of America’s largest privately owned infrastructure firms, announced a groundbreaking 30-year Energy-as-a-Service (EaaS) partnership with Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH), New Jersey’s largest health network.

Hackensack Meridian Health, a healthcare powerhouse operating 18 hospitals across eight counties, with nearly 4,000 licensed beds and a workforce of approximately 35,000 employees and 6,500 physicians, is set to own the largest solar and battery energy storage system of any not-for-profit healthcare provider in the U.S., thanks to this pioneering collaboration. Nearly 98% of the project scope is solar and battery storage, including 50,000 solar panels manufactured in the USA.

The 30-year agreement encompasses $134 million in infrastructure improvements, a 10% reduction in carbon emissions, a 25% decrease in purchased electricity, and 33% guaranteed energy savings. This project solidifies Hackensack Meridian Health‘s dedication to remaining the largest, most comprehensive, and truly integrated healthcare network in New Jersey, offering innovative research, life-enhancing care, and a complete range of medical services.

“This partnership marks a significant milestone in sustainable healthcare practices and underscores Hackensack Meridian Health‘s unwavering commitment to energy resilience and environmental sustainability,” said Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health.

Bernhard, with more than 100 years of energy and infrastructure project experience, stands as the largest turnkey Energy-as-a-Service solutions provider in North America. The company combines development, financing, design, construction, and operations to offer comprehensive solutions that reduce energy use, risk, and cost for clients across various sectors, including healthcare, higher education, commercial, and specialty markets.

“Bernhard is proud to embark on this transformative journey with Hackensack Meridian Health, utilizing our expertise to deliver a turnkey Energy-as-a-Service solution that will not only enhance operational efficiency but also contribute significantly to environmental sustainability,” stated Bernhard CEO Ed Tinsley.

Hackensack Meridian Health is already a leader in sustainability, an effort that began more than a decade ago. Four of its hospitals were the first in the country to earn the Joint Commission’s Sustainable Healthcare Certification earlier this year. Hackensack University Medical Center, Bayshore Medical Center, Jersey Shore University Medical Center and Ocean University Medical Center met rigorous standards of performance to establish structure, rigor, and accountability to accelerate healthcare’s growing sustainability effort. The Joint Commission’s SHC provides a framework to help healthcare organizations begin, continue, or expand their decarbonization efforts. It builds on the momentum of healthcare organizations like Hackensack Meridian Health to lead the way in sustainability excellence by inspiring and guiding others who desire to prioritize greener practices.

“This partnership puts Hackensack Meridian Health on course to meet critical sustainability and energy resilience goals – complementing the State’s initiatives to invest in renewable energy and reduce our carbon footprint,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “I commend both Hackensack Meridian Health and Bernhard for embarking on this important partnership to bolster the energy infrastructure of New Jersey’s healthcare industry, ensuring hospitals are prepared to continue delivering quality care.”

Additionally, Hackensack Meridian Health CEO Robert C. Garrett is Chair of the World Economic Forum’s (Forum) Health and Healthcare Governor’s Community. In his two-year term, Mr. Garrett is helping define the industry agenda and driving change with the Forum to improve access to healthcare and outcomes and to drive more efficiency in the industry. The impact of climate change on personal health is a major item on the agenda.

The 30-year partnership between Bernhard and HMH is not only a testament to sustainable innovation but also a significant driver of economic growth. This collaboration sets the stage for a transformative impact on both the healthcare sector and the local workforce. The creation of jobs is a cornerstone of this initiative, primarily through the engagement of construction and trades crews responsible for the implementation of energy-efficient solutions. The workforce involved in executing these improvements becomes an integral part of fostering a greener and more sustainable future.

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