Hospitals get a dose of sustainability

Ian Van Eerden

Illawarra International Health Precinct recently became the first hospital in NSW to be awarded a 5 Star Greenstar Rating. Our senior sustainability consultant, Ian Van Eerden explains how we were able to contribute to the success of the rating. 

Healthcare facilities provide huge sustainability challenges. Hospitals use at least twice as much energy per square meter as commercial office buildings and around six times as much water; they often operate 24 hours a day and need significant redundancy of systems because of the work that they perform. 

In 2013 Northrop began work applying the Green Building Council of Australia’s healthcare rating tool on the Illawarra International Health Precinct. This tool supports sustainable planning, design and construction to help create an environment that reduces the stress levels of medical practitioners, which in turn will improve their performance and the delivery of their patient care. Other benefits include reduced length of stay, staff retention, enhanced staff recruitment and lower operating costs.

Improving efficiency in healthcare without reducing patient care has presented challenges for sustainability professionals.  Some key project initiatives implemented by our team included;

  • The use of a hybrid Chilled Beam HVAC system.
  • Application of highly efficient LED lighting.
  • Integration of a district tri-generation system to provide low emissions electricity, heating and cooling, as well as improving the sites energy security.
  • Sustainable materials selections, including certified timber, low VOC paints and best practice certified PVC. 
  • The provision of high quality amenity and recovery spaces including a central sheltered outdoor reflections space. 
  • An extensive rainwater capture and reuse system. 

Northrop worked closely with Imagescape Architects and La Vie Developments to achieve a building design that met the strict Green Star criteria for the project.  Once constructed, the project will be the largest private health precinct in the state. This project is illustrative of La Vie Development’s commitment to Australian Excellence in sustainability within the designs for the precinct.

Northrop is also providing sustainability advice and support at St Vincent’s Private Hospital, Sydney South West Private Hospital, Norwest Private and a range of other projects. To hear more about Northrop’s health experience click here.

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