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NYC Health + Hospitals Promotes Omer Cabuk to Chief Decarbonization Officer: 4 Things to Know

June 3, 2024 by Joe Panettieri

NYC Health + Hospitals -- the largest municipal health care system in the United States -- has promoted Omer Cabuk (pictured above) to the newly created position of chief decarbonization officer. Here are four things to know about the health care organization's sustainability strategy, and Cabuk's experience.

1. Organizational Focus and Scale: NYC Health + Hospitals serves more than one million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island). The system spans 11 hospitals and more than 43,000 employees.

2. Sustainability Goals: The organization unveiled a Climate Resiliency Plan on May 22, 2024. The Plan recommends a "series of infrastructure projects, such as installation of additional emergency generators linked to critical HVAC equipment, improving the drainage capacity of roofs and windows, building additional flood barriers, and installing green infrastructure to reduce ponding and heat island effect."

NYC Health + Hospitals has already achieved a 30% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions since 2006 and is continuing its efforts to achieve a 50% reduction by 2030, the organization said. The Climate Resilience Plan aligns with the Mayor’s PlaNYC: Getting Sustainability Done long-term strategic climate plan.

For Omer Cabuk, key near-term goals include adhering to Local Law 97 of 2019. The law requires a 40% reduction in operational emissions by 2025 and a 50% reduction by 2030.

3. Omer Cabuk's Role & Experience: Cubak will "serve as an executive-level strategist, partnering with leadership team, capital project leads, facilities management staff, and other key stakeholders to fully embed energy efficiency, electrification, and renewable energy initiatives for the built environment into corporation’s policy, operations, and capital planning," the organization said. "He will also advise executive leadership on strategic opportunities, critical issues, and risks impacting decarbonization efforts within the organization’s operations." His appointment was effective April 8.

Cabuk previously was senior director of decarbonization and sustainability at NYC Health + Hospitals. In that role, he "led significant decarbonization projects that substantially reduced both direct and purchased energy emissions," the organization said. During his tenure, Cabuk managed an annual utilities budget of $100 million, "optimizing and reducing costs associated with gas, electricity, and district steam utilities," the organization said.

Manny Saez, VP of the Office of Facilities Development at NYC Health + Hospitals

4. Executive Perspectives: In a prepared statement, Manuel Saez, VP of the Office of Facilities Development at NYC Health + Hospitals, said: “Omer has worked tirelessly on the essential work of decarbonization and sustainability at our facilities,” said Manuel Saez, PhD, Vice President of the Office of Facilities Development at NYC Heath + Hospitals. “This new role shows NYC Health + Hospitals’ commitment to providing the best possible care for our community by ensuring resiliency throughout the system.”

Added Sana Barakat, Department of Citywide Administrative Services deputy commissioner for energy management, and the City’s chief decarbonization officer: “Omer Cabuk’s appointment as Chief Decarbonization Officer at NYC Health + Hospitals marks a pivotal moment in our city’s fight against climate change, and his extensive experience and proven track record in sustainability will be instrumental in advancing our decarbonization goals. We are committed to building a healthier, more resilient future for all New Yorkers, and ensuring that our facilities not only meet, but exceed our carbon reduction targets through the appointment of agency decarbonization officers is paramount.”

Sana Barakat, deputy commissioner for energy management for the Department of Citywide Administrative Services and the city’s chief decarbonization officer

Concluded Cabuk: “I am deeply honored to continue advancing our sustainability initiatives in this new capacity, driving forward the decarbonization agenda and leveraging innovative electrification and renewable energy technologies to reduce our emissions further. I am excited to collaborate with our dedicated teams across various departments—from capital development to facility operations and executive management—to not only meet, but hope to exceed our carbon footprint reduction goals, adhere to New York City sustainability mandates, and achieve operational cost efficiencies.”

Health Care and Sustainability: Why Technology Partners Should Care

By 2027, 25% of Global 2000 companies will have assigned a chief sustainability officer (CSO) responsible for meeting their organization’s ESG goals and making ESG-related IT purchasing decisions, according to IDC. The figure will certainly be even higher for organizations that have major physical footprints -- such as health care service providers.

The bottom line: Technology partners need to extend their sales, marketing, engagement and support strategies to successfully fulfill those CSO customer needs, Sustainable Tech Partner believes.

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