Environmental Sustainability

Island Health is committed to caring for patients and the environment.

This means working together to reduce our carbon emission and improve efficiencies while delivering excellent care. 

Watch the video Greening Our Practice below.

Carbon Neutral Action Reports

British Columbia has some of the most advanced climate legislation in the world. As a public sector organization we must report on our carbon emissions and ensure we are “carbon neutral”.

Leading by Example: The First Five Years of Carbon Neutral Government in British Columbia - 2010-2014 
Latest Island Health Carbon Neutral Action Report 
Previous Reports


Energy Efficiency & Conservation

BC’s carbon neutral legislation requires we reduce our carbon emissions by 33% by 2020 from 2007 levels. Island Health’s Energy Efficiency & Conservation team works with many departments such as Facilities, Maintenance & Operations, Purchasing, and Design & Construction as well as utilities (BC Hydro & FortisBC) to reduce electricity and natural gas use at our 41 owned buildings.

Thanks to the leadership of the Island Health board of directors and the collaboration of staff, we’ve reduced energy consumption by 5.5% since 2008 despite a growth rate in area of 12%. These energy savings have prompted BC Hydro to name Island Health as the #1 Power Smart Partner for 2013/14. 

Although energy upgrades such as efficient boilers and lighting retrofits are important, it’s clear we cannot meet our carbon reduction target with a “business as usual” strategy. The Strategic Energy Management Plan (SEMP) is a five year plan and our road map to a more sustainable future. But we cannot reach our carbon goals with technology alone. We need everyone to help.

Green Initiatives

There are many initiatives underway at Island Health to reduce our environmental impact and promote positive changes in how we deliver care.

Green Champions

All employees are part of the Island Health’s green team and our New Employee Orientation includes materials to encourage staff to go green! Individuals can volunteer to be a Green Champion and do activities in their department to conserve energy and resources and build a culture of sustainability.


Island Health’s recycling program is available at all of our owned health care facilities island wide. Many materials are recycled including batteries and cooking oil, and even worn linens are donated to local community groups and third world countries. Waste audits track recycling performance and waste disposal, providing feedback and encouragement to staff.


Island Health regularly composts all lawn and garden waste where community facilities allow and kitchen wastes are composted in Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Duncan, Parksville, Qualicum and Victoria.

Green Buildings

All new health facilities must be built with “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” principals, or LEED, and meet LEED gold certification. Nanaimo Regional General Hospital’s new Emergency Department was built to LEED standards and won BC Hydro’s 2014 Power Smart Award for New Construction Design. Learn more about how we are building for health.

Paper Reduction

Island Health must report on paper consumption and their carbon emissions as part of the Carbon Neutral Action Report. Seventy percent of our paper now has recycled content, and our new goal is to reduce printing by 25%. Saving paper also saves toner, trees, water and reduces our carbon footprint. Staff enjoy humorous videos and newsletter stories with “Dr PrintLESS” giving tips on how to have paper less meetings and other strategies to print LESS! Watch the Dr. PrintLESS video below

We "Travel Smart"

Island Health encourages staff to choose “travel smart” options such as walking, bicycling, transit and carpooling. Patients can also reduce travel time and costs by participating in the Telehealth program which brings expert health care to rural communities via video link. The Logistics Department is managing our fleet well by replacing aged vehicles with high efficiency models.

Solar Energy at Island Health

Island Health has five solar arrays including the largest solar photovoltaic (electricity) site on Vancouver Island at West Coast General Hospital (WCGH) in Port Alberni, B.C. See the solar energy produced at WCGH in real time on-line. Victoria General, Saanich Peninsula and Aberdeen Hospitals (Victoria) and Cairnsmore Place (Duncan) have solar “thermal” installations which preheat the hot water and reduce natural gas use and their emissions.

The benefits of alternative energy are many. The energy produced by solar helps protect operating budgets against the rising cost of energy. The extra power in the summer from solar photovoltaic goes to offset the heavy air conditioning demand and the high cost of “peak demand” rates thereby helping to reduce utility costs and carbon pollution.