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Discover Canberra’s First All-Electric Hospital Building Opening This August

Did you know Canberra Hospital’s first all-electric building is set to open its doors this August? This groundbreaking facility is demonstrating how sustainable healthcare solutions benefit both the environment and public health. 

Here’s what we know about the new facility:

Image shows artist interpretation of the outside of the new Canberra all-electric hospital, supplied by Riotact

Image source: RiotAct

21 Massive Heat Pumps

Twenty-one state-of-the-art heat pumps will replace outdated gas boilers, reducing the hospital’s carbon footprint by approximately 1,886 tonnes annually—equivalent to removing 760 cars from Canberra’s roads.

Health Benefits: By installing these heat pumps, the facility addresses critical health concerns linked to traditional gas boilers, which emit hazardous pollutants. This upgrade to a modern system sets a precedent for other critical infrastructure across the region, showcasing viable pathways toward green energy solutions.

Environmental Impact: The installation of these heat pumps aligns with global efforts to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and lower greenhouse gas emissions. As Australia’s healthcare industry accounts for 7% of Australia's total domestic carbon footprint, this proactive approach contributes to national and international targets for carbon reduction.

High-Performing Double-Glazed Window Units

The new building will feature advanced window units made of thermally-broken double glazing, designed to minimise the amount of cooling needed during hot summers and heating required in cold winters. They achieve this by reducing the exchange of air through the windows and by adjusting how much solar heat is absorbed based on the season.

Energy Savings: By reducing the need for artificial cooling and heating throughout the year, these units significantly lower the building’s overall energy consumption when compared with conventional windows.

Cost Savings: This results in lower operational costs over the lifetime of the building. Reduced energy usage translates to financial savings that can be redirected toward patient care and facility maintenance.

Intelligent HVAC Systems

The new building will integrate advanced heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems designed for optimal energy efficiency. These systems are controlled and monitored by an advanced Building Management and Control system which is equipped with analytics capabilities to provide detailed operational insights. This will allow for precise management of heating, ventilation and cooling throughout the hospital, ensuring efficient and effective operation.

Health Benefits: The HVAC systems ensure a comfortable indoor environment by regulating humidity, temperature, and air quality. This contributes to maintaining optimal conditions for patient recovery and staff productivity.

Recycled Water Systems

The building’s recycled water systems will collect, treat and reuse water from various sources within the hospital for irrigation, toilet flushing and potentially other non-potable uses.

Environmental Impacts

  • Water Savings: The building will reduce the demand for freshwater, thus conserving precious freshwater resources.
  • Energy Savings: By reducing water consumption and wastewater discharge, the building will lower its overall environmental footprint.
  • Climate Resilience: Hospitals equipped with recycled water systems are more resilient to water shortages or disruptions in water supply, ensuring continued operations during water scarcity events, which are becoming increasingly common across Australia.
  • Improved Greening: Using recycled water for irrigation supports greening efforts around the hospital, contributing to a healthier and more pleasant environment for patients, staff and visitors.

Cost Savings: Implementing recycled water systems can lead to cost savings on water bills and wastewater disposal fees, as less water needs to be purchased and less wastewater needs to be treated and discharged.

Solar Shading

Solar shading will control the amount of sunlight and solar heat entering the building by strategically blocking, filtering, absorbing or reflecting sunlight. Incorporating solar shading strategies in hospital design not only enhances energy efficiency and environmental sustainability but also promotes better health outcomes by creating more comfortable, resilient and pleasant indoor environments. These benefits underscore the importance of thoughtful architectural and environmental design in healthcare facilities to support patient care and staff productivity while reducing environmental impact.

Environmental Impacts:

  • Climate Resilience: Hospitals equipped with effective solar shading systems are more resilient to heatwaves and extreme temperatures, maintaining comfortable indoor temperatures and reducing the risk of heat-related illnesses during peak summer months.
  • Reduced Urban Heat Island Effect: Solar shading helps mitigate the urban heat island effect by reducing the amount of heat absorbed and radiated back into the atmosphere from buildings and paved surfaces, thereby moderating local temperatures.
  • Energy Savings: By reducing the amount of solar heat entering the building, solar shading will reduce the building’s need for artificial cooling systems. This leads to lower energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions associated with cooling.

Health Benefits: Solar shading contributes to improved patient comfort by maintaining a comfortable indoor environment with stable temperatures and reduced glare, which supports patient recovery and well-being.

Conscious Construction Practices

The conscious construction practices employed in Canberra's new all-electric hospital exemplify a commitment to sustainability, environmental stewardship and community wellbeing. From demolition through to completion, the hospital has not only met high standards of environmental responsibility but has also set a benchmark for future construction projects seeking to minimise environmental impact while promoting sustainable development.

Material Salvaging and Repurposing

During the demolition phase, 96% of the materials from the previous buildings on site were salvaged and repurposed for other construction projects. By salvaging and repurposing materials, the construction has enhanced resource efficiency and reduced landfill waste, contributing to a circular economy model.

Low-Carbon Concrete Usage

The new hospital used locally sourced low-carbon concrete for its construction, boasting a 40% reduction in carbon content compared to standard mixes. By using this eco-friendly concrete, the project has already eliminated over 2,000 tonnes of embodied CO2 emissions. This reduction is equivalent to the carbon absorbed by more than 30,000 tree seedlings grown over a decade.

Use of Electric Cranes

Throughout the building construction, electric cranes were employed instead of traditional fuel-powered cranes. This choice not only aligns with the hospital's commitment to minimising its environmental footprint during the construction phase, but also eliminates air and noise pollution.

Image shows artist interpretation of the inside of the new Canberra all-electric hospital, supplied by Riotact

Image source: RiotAct

Support a Cleaner, Healthier Future

Imagine a hospital that not only heals patients but also heals the planet. Canberra’s upcoming all-electric hospital is pioneering sustainable healthcare solutions that set a new standard for environmental stewardship and community health. With innovative features like advanced heat pumps, high-performing double-glazed window units, intelligent HVAC systems, recycled water systems, solar shading and conscious construction practices, this hospital is not just a healthcare facility—it’s an example of how critical infrastructure can work in harmony with the planet to benefit the human health.

Take Action Now 

Join us in supporting the creation of new all-electric hospitals and be part of a movement towards greener, healthier futures. Your involvement can make a significant impact:

  • Support Innovation: Join our new Healthy Hospitals national work. We are campaigning for the rollout of all-electric, renewable-powered healthy hospitals in every state and territory in Australia. 
  • Advocate for Sustainable Healthcare: Share this article  to spread awareness about the benefits of all-electric hospitals and encourage policymakers and healthcare providers to prioritise sustainability in healthcare infrastructure.

Together, we can build a healthier future—one hospital at a time. 

 

 

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