Valley Children’s Launches Bold New Energy Resilience and Environmental Strategy
Goals include net-zero carbon emissions and the largest pediatric healthcare-based renewable energy microgrid in the country
Valley Children's Healthcare, the leading provider of pediatric care in Central California, announced in April 2023 its plans for a bold new environmental strategy to accomplish two strategic priorities - to build energy resiliency for hospital campus operations and to drive efforts for improved air quality in the region. The plan will reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030 and will achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. It also includes the installation of the largest pediatric healthcare-based renewable energy microgrid in the country.
"Whether it is drought, wildfires, severe weather or interruptions to the State’s power grid, there is no question that the environmental challenges facing this region, and our hospital operations, are significant and will only continue to intensify over time,” says Valley Children’s President & CEO Todd Suntrapak. “Our commitment over the last seven decades, and for the next seven decades and beyond, is to provide the best care to the kids of this Valley and to improve the environment in which they live. The strategy we are announcing today will help us to accomplish both of those goals.”
“No matter what happens outside our walls, we never take our eye off of providing the best care for kids. This investment is certainly generational and one that will provide for a level of energy resiliency seen in only a handful of organizations across the country."
- Todd Suntrapak, Valley Children's President & CEO
When online and operational in 2025, the renewable energy microgrid will reduce reliance on the traditional power grid, ensuring Valley Children’s Hospital and buildings on its campus remain operational in the event of power outages in the region. When Valley Children’s achieves net zero, its entire campus will produce no carbon emissions, eliminating its carbon footprint and impact on air quality.
Additionally, Valley Children’s is committed to creating energy resiliency and addressing the impact of climate change on families in Central California by:
- Creating a sustainable and clean energy strategy for the main hospital campus located in Madera, including the renewable energy microgrid that encompasses solar photovoltaic materials, fuel cells and battery storage.
- Investing in water treatment and recharge capabilities to ensure support for the Madera campus in the face of California’s continuing drought.
- Developing a 10-year plan through the Valley Children’s Guilds Center for Community Health to effectively identify the health needs of Central Valley children. The plan will measure the impact of these interventions, through the lens of equity and concern for health disparities in the region.
- Encouraging sustainable food practices, including sourcing food from local and sustainable producers and reducing food waste.
“The majority of a person’s health is shaped by the community that one lives in, so it is imperative that healthcare providers, especially those of us who serve children, look outside of our walls,” says Dr. Carmela Sosa-Unguez, complex care pediatrician and director of the Valley Children’s Guilds Center for Community Health. “It is our duty to make sure we do everything within our ability to ensure that children have a healthy place to grow. By making these changes, we are helping contribute to cleaner air and to healthier environments. This is not going to be solved by one person or one organization, though. It will take all of us working together and every little bit helps.”
In 2022, Valley Children’s was one of the first hospitals in the country to sign the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Health Sector Climate Pledge, a nationwide effort to address the impacts of climate change on public health. Successful implementation of Valley Children’s energy resilience program will be used as a model for other HHS Health Sector Climate Pledge signees.
“This is about more than being on the cutting edge of the clean and renewable energy movement,” says Suntrapak. “This is really about making sure Valley Children’s is insulated from any threat that might disrupt our ability to care for kids and to continue to innovate. The work here is sacred and children are our number one priority.”
Watch the video below to learn more about Valley Children's commitment to creating energy resiliency and addressing the impact of climate change on families.