The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) and New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) have released a paper titled ‘The case for sustainable healthcare’, revealing the triple bottom line benefits of green-certified health facilities following a review of national and international healthcare facilities.
“In Australia, there are almost 2000 Green Star-certified projects. A dozen of these are healthcare facilities, but the majority are office buildings. If banks and law firms are reaping the benefits of healthy, sustainable workplaces for their staff, then we should be providing the same for the doctors and nurses who help us heal and for patients who these facilities are built for.”
Romilly Madew, Chief Executive Officer, Green Building Council of Australia
Green healthcare facilities are more cost effective
The paper found hospitals typically used more than double the energy and six times the water per square metre compared to an office block. This makes them ideal candidates to receive sustainability upgrades, with Green Star-certified buildings and communities typically using 66% less electricity than average Australian city buildings, using half the potable water than minimum requirements and producing 62% lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Examples of positive outcomes outlined in the report are as follows:
The New South Wing of Flinders Medical Centre in South Australia, a five-star Green Star-certified building, saved $400,000 a year thanks to a solar-heated hot water system. It also reduced water consumption 20% through rainwater harvesting.
Austin Hospital’s Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre, the first certified Green Star – Healthcare project in Victoria, no longer uses any potable water for irrigation because of its 120,000 L rainwater-storage facility.
Queensland’s newly opened $1.8bn Sunshine Coast University Hospital is tipped to operate at 40% lower peak energy demand when it is fully occupied in 2021.
New Zealand’s Forte Health Building in Christchurch reported strong tenant and patient satisfaction. It also offered state-of-the-art operating theatre ventilation including ‘scavenging’ devices to remove potentially infected air from circulation.
eWater Hygiene Systems supporting Green Healthcare
eWater Systems has a long history working with the healthcare industry, with one of our first customers being Austin Health in Victoria. Since then we have built a healthy customer list of hospitals, aged care facilities and other healthcare providers that are making the move to water electrolysis systems in their facilities to break their reliance on packaged chemicals for cleaning and sanitising.
Contributing to Green Building Standards
eWater Hygiene systems are often specified as part of new developments and provide our customers with the additional benefit of contributing to Green Cleaning Protocols within the various building standards including Greenstar, WELL or LEED.
The most recent addition to these standards is the WELL Building Standard, with criteria focused on the building design, build and supply to ensure a healthy environment for the wellbeing of its occupants. For more information regarding eWater Systems contributions to WELL see this article.
Green building are also benefiting patients
The Australian example highlighted above build on international research that show patient benefits from green buildings. These included a 15% faster recovery for people with depression when they were cared for in facilities with natural sunlight; a 30% drop in medical errors in better designed rooms; and a 41% shorter average stay for patients in sunny rooms compared to those without access to natural light.