HCA Healthcare

At a Glance


Health Care

Project Types

Clean and Renewable Energy, Commercial Energy Efficiency




Nashville, TN

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Net Present Value:


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Annual kWh Savings:

1,000,000 kWh

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Annual CO2 Reductions:

60,000 metric tons


Colin Smith examined renewable energy technologies in an effort to reduce both HCA Healthcare’s energy use and costs.


HCA Healthcare, one of the nation’s leading providers of healthcare services, comprising 172 hospitals and 119 freestanding surgery centers in 20 states and the United Kingdom, enlisted EDF Climate Corps fellow Colin Smith to examine the landscape of renewable energy technologies in the U.S. with the goal of reducing HCA’s energy usage and spend. Though HCA currently procures green power from several sources both onsite and off, hospitals are high intensity energy users that can greatly benefit from the implementation of new and innovative green technologies.  


Looking across the landscape of renewable energy options available in the U.S. that could advance environmentally sound choices across HCA, Smith found three options that showed strong promise and fit with HCA’s corporate structure, and focused his efforts on analyzing the cost and impact of each option. These options were corporate utility scale power purchase agreements (PPAs), onsite solar—photovoltaic (PV) systems, and geothermal for heat pump systems.

Smith worked with HCA’s Director of Sustainability, HCA’s multi-disciplinary Sustainability Steering Committee chaired by a member of HCA’s Executive Leadership, and the committee’s four task forces: Energy and Water, Construction and Major Renovation, Waste Stream, and Environmentally Preferable Purchasing. After collecting power consumption and rate data for all of HCA’s facilities, Smith engaged with renewable energy vendors to collect data on each option’s cost, estimated savings and environmental impact. Additionally, Smith worked to uncover incentives and rebates that could allow these proposed projects to provide solid returns on investment.

After compiling all the necessary system specification data and costs of the three renewable options, Smith completed financial analysis to evaluate the investments over their useful life and determine potential cost savings and environmental benefits of each opportunity. Finally, because Smith’s research on renewable energy trends showed a rapidly and ever-changing landscape, he presented a model for dynamic evaluation of renewable energy opportunities. 

Potential Impact

Over their lifetimes, these three projects may have the potential to save HCA up to $4.2 million in net operational costs. At full implementation of Smith’s recommendations, annually, they could replace 103 million kilowatt hours of electricity with green power, and offset 61,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. At the end of his fellowship, Smith presented his project findings and guidance on renewable energy modeling to members of HCA’s Sustainability Steering Committee. With these proposed projects, Smith provided HCA an analysis and recommended action plan for implementation of additional renewable energy projects.

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