Environmental sustainability

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Our commitment to sustainability

Taking care of our environment is critical to ensure good health for our patients, employees and our community. Abbott Northwestern Hospital has already taken many steps to reduce electricity usage and lower greenhouse gas emissions. More is on the way as we begin major infrastructure projects.


What’s new

Central Utility Plant (CUP)

The new Central Utility Plant will provide heating, cooling, power, and water for our hospital campus. We will replace our current inefficient system with a new, cleaner, highly efficient system. And during construction, we will use pollution control equipment to protect neighborhood air quality.

Architect's rendering of new central utility plant at Abbott Northwestern Hospital

How are we making the CUP more efficient?

  • Replacing 1950’s-era boilers with 2 energy-efficient boilers
  • Replacing old emergency power generators 3 energy-efficient generators
    • Efficient generators = less diesel fuel used in the event of a major emergency

boiler generator

Additional features of the CUP

  • The Central Utility Plant will generate steam for Abbott Northwestern Hospital, the Children’s Minnesota hospital, and other neighbors. We use steam to sterilize medical instruments and heat our buildings. Sharing this resource creates an efficient local district for energy distribution.
  • The CUP will feature rainwater capture systems to reduce strain on the local storm water system.

Purple Parking Ramp

The new Purple parking Ramp will house multiple modes of transportation, a community solar garden and more.

Architectural rendering of new transportation hub

Sustainability features

icon showing a flower to indicate pollinator-friendly plants

Pollinator Plantings

With the help of a Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) Action Grant of $50,000, Allina Health planted native, pollinator-friendly plantings along the Purple Parking Ramp’s 5,000-square-foot slope near the Midtown Greenway. The new pollinator habitat includes carefully selected plants based on their bloom time and ability to grow well and prevent erosion on a steep slope. A host of vibrant pollinator plantings—purple coneflower, Muskingum dogwood, rough blazing star, to name a few—now greets hospital patients and local residents. 

  • Reduce storm water while decreasing erosion
  • Support the lives of pollinators
  • Add to the vibrancy of the Midtown Phillips neighborhood

Learn more about these pollinator-friendly plantings.

icon  solar panel

Community Solar Garden

Cooperative Energy Futures will build a solar roof on the Purple Parking Ramp. Community solar gardens allow residents to subscribe to solar power and get a credit on their Xcel Energy bill. This community solar garden will generate approximately one megawatt of electricity. That’s enough energy to power 150-180 homes.

icon pedestrian

Community Promenade

Along the Midtown Greenway, a sidewalk promenade will connect Chicago Avenue and Elliot Avenue. This currently unused space will create a more vibrant street level. It will also include native plants that will attract pollinators and manage storm water.

mock up of what new community promenade will look like

Concept drawing of a new promenade along the Transportation Hub on Chicago Avenue, adjacent to the Greenway

icon  EV car

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

  • Electric vehicles will be able to charge at the Purple Parking Ramp.
  • This project will support more EV stations in the future.

Support for Multimodal Transportation

Multi-modal transportation includes a variety of ways travelers get to and from their destination. We are doing our part to help get our employees to work while also reducing transport emissions.

multimodal header

  • How does the Purple Parking Ramp complement multimodal transportation?
    • Location along Chicago Ave Bus Rapid Transit Line promotes public transportation.
    • Bike-to-Work features include employee entrance from the Greenway, bike lockers, bike storage, and showers.
    • Connects commuters who use ride-sharing and other alternatives, including our FLEXcommute program.

Alternatives to Driving to Work Alone - FLEXcommute

In November 2019, Allina Health launched a commuter program called FLEXcommute, powered by Luum, to promote alternatives to driving to work alone.

  • Features of the employee incentive program include:
    • Telework options for many positions
    • More amenities for bike riders
    • Support of multi-modal transportation
    • Financial subsidies for public transportation
    • An employee smart phone app to choose alternatives to single-occupant vehicles
icon bike

Walking and Biking

  • Advocating for the Greenway
    • The Greenway bike path is a central feature of Midtown and runs through the Abbott Northwestern Hospital and Allina Health headquarters campus. The Allina Health Community Engagement team works with the Midtown Greenway Coalition, neighborhood associations, and City, County, and State officials to advocate for the path and the residents who live alongside it.
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  • Our location:
    • The new Purple Parking Ramp will support multimodal transit for hospital employees to complement Bus Rapid Transit lines.
  • Bus Rapid Transit D and B Lines:
    • The B Line on Lake Street / Marshall Avenue is advancing through project planning.
    • The D Line, currently under construction, will run on Chicago and Emerson-Fremont Avenues.

Learn more about environmental sustainability efforts at Abbott Northwestern Hospital and Allina Health.