I just found this environmental initiative/event posted by a loyal H2E listserv contributor (see my “Serving up your daily green design and operations dose” post for more info on the listserv). Here’s her post (nearly) word-for-word and my follow up:

Hi Practice Green Health-ers,

If you are on this listserve I know you are concerned about the environment, wildlife and public health. And you know climate change is the most pressing environmental and possibly public health issue of our time. Health care facilities emit over 39 Million tons of carbon dioxide per year (Dept of Energy data). We now have an opportunity as an industry and individuals to show our support for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We can participate in Earth Hour.

Earth Hour is a show of support for greenhouse gas reductions by turning off all the lights for one hour at 8:00 p.m. on March 29. This may seem a bit problematic for health care, but we can choose to shut down all but crucial patient care operations for one hour. We can turn off all office lights and computers. There are other reductions we can make.

Over 3,000 other businesses have signed up. We as health care need to show our support of this issue.

We have a month to put plans in place for this to turn off the lights in support and to begin turning the tide of climate change. Let’s truly Practice Green Health. For more info on Earth Hour see www.earthhour.org.

Share your stories on how your facility will participate. How much energy will you save? How many greenhouse gases will be reduced? Thank about it, spread the word and do it! I’ll do the same. Thanks!

Catherine Zimmer
Health Care Specialist

Minnesota Technical Assistance Program
University of Minnesota
612.624.4635, 800.247.0015

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Hi Catherine,

Do you mind if I copy your post to my blog on HELATHCARE DESIGN? I love the idea.

How challenging would this be, though, for hospitals? Is it even realistic? Has your facility started plans for Earth Hour?


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Hi John,

No I don’t mind at all, and would appreciate you spreading the word.

Yes, my facility has started planning for it as well as my city. The Earth Hour FAQ page has suggestions for hospitals, street lights, etc.

Catherine Zimmer

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Awesome. Thanks.