Santa Casa de Misericordia da Bahia


The consumption of renewable energy is an important strategy for the mitigation of negative environmental impacts. The Santa Casa de Misericordia da Bahia – Hospital Santa Izabel (HSI) structured a management programme for the efficiency of its power grid, with photovoltaic plant generation, renewable energy consumption, and actions for efficiency and improvement of consumption habits. It allowed the hospital to obtain significant financial and environmental results, such as savings of approximately USD 2,400,000 a year, and avoiding the emission of 74 tonnes of CO2e.


According to scientific studies, hospitals are the second largest consumer of electricity in Brazil. Therefore, energy efficiency is becoming more and more fundamental and present in the operation strategies of hospitals.

The HSI, which belongs to the philanthropic organization Santa Casa da Bahia, is a hospital complex that has been operating for 127 years and has 32 buildings with over 53,000 square metres of floor space, 3,500 employees, and 473 beds. Therefore, it requires a significant amount of energy to operate. In this context, and at the organization’s own initiative, Santa Casa da Bahia adopted a strategic plan to improve the use of resources in the Hospital Santa Izabel.

Encouraged by the “health through climate” challenge, part of a project linked to the Global Green and Healthy Hospitals network, the hospital implemented an energy management programme with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This programme focused on promoting actions to achieve energy efficiency at different scales and across hospital units.

Solution proposed

As a first step towards energy efficiency, the hospital started by conducting an energy audit with a specialised company, which assessed the areas for improvement in the electrical installations of the HSI. Based on the results of the audit, investment priorities were defined for the energy management programme.

The programme was financed with resources from the organization and with state resources through the company that manages the electricity network in the Bahia area. This made it possible for the project to focus on seven main areas: air conditioning and refrigeration, photovoltaic plants, solar thermal power, efficient lighting, internal power monitoring, improving consumption habits, and renewable energy contracting in the free market.

The implementation began with the installation of 35 internal energy meters for the sectorization of buildings and units, integrated with online software for real-time monitoring. The next phase involved the implementation of actions and technologies to reduce energy consumption, such as:

  • installing 119 solar panels for water heating, which cover 50 bathrooms in seven of nine infirmaries;
  • registering each air conditioning unit installed in the hospital and retrofitting the central chilled water plant:
  • installing photovoltaic plants in units outside the hospital that depend entirely on the public supply grid;
  • replacing 9,550 light bulbs with LED technology.

In addition to these measures, the organization implemented and internal training programme to promote the responsible use of energy, which was supported by a strong communication campaign.

The challenges

The main challenges associated with promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy use in the organization are related to the lack of public incentives, outdated technologies, misuse of electricity, and limited financial resources.

Expected impact and vision of the project

Santa Casa da Bahia renewed its participation in the free market of electricity until 2028, which ensures consumption of energy produced with renewable sources in Brazil. By purchasing the electricity to power the HSI in the free market, the organization achieves average annual savings of USD 382,000, in contrast to what it would spend by purchasing electricity in the closed market, such as the electricity sold by the state utility company. Thus, the HSI is powered through wind power and photovoltaic energy, making the use of electricity for the hospital free of greenhouse gas emissions. 

Although HSI’s satellite or external units are not part of the free energy market, they are powered by renewable energies, which also represents financial savings.

Measures related to LED lighting, refrigeration, renewable thermal energy, and implementing an energy management system, already have a positive impact on energy efficiency. In financial terms, they have guaranteed savings of about

USD 68,000 per year.

Additionally, more than 200 photovoltaic modules were installed in the Central de Abastecimento Farmacêutico and the Clínica Álvaro Lemos and these have been operating since June 2019, meeting 45% and 20% of the demand respectively. This translates into annual savings of USD 18,000.

Together, these actions resulted in a reduction of 74 tonnes of CO2e.

Another thermal energy project called “Hybrid Laundry” is being implemented in the HSI internal laundry. When completed, it is estimated that it will produce savings of USD 130,000 and 30 to 40% reduction in Scope 1 GHG emissions.

Financial savings

$530,000 per year

Expected levels of GHG reduction

74 tonnes of CO2 per year


Improved energy efficiency in hospital operations, as well as the use of electricity from renewable sources, has positive impacts not only on the organization’s finances, but also has a direct impact on the determinants of health, such as contributing to a reduction in the incidence of respiratory diseases.

In addition, the project has other positive impacts on society, such as creating environmental awareness among patients and employees, as well as supporting the decarbonization of the national energy matrix.

Written by:

IHF Secretariat