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Australia’s first 5-star green hospital breaks new ground

Health Industry Hub | March 15, 2024 |

ESG: A hospital in Queensland has become the first in the nation to achieve a 5 Star Green Star performance rating from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

The 182-bed and nine-storey Surgical Treatment and Rehabilitation Service (STARS) is a new specialist public health facility for Metro North Hospital and Health Service (MNHHS) in Herston Quarter in Brisbane. It has been recognised for its efficient water systems and processes, sustainable waste management and architectural design that lends itself to airflow and peak thermal performance.

GBCA CEO Davina Rooney said many hospitals report difficulty managing waste and carbon sustainably. Hospitals are one of Australia’s largest polluters – contributing to 7% of national emissions, alongside generating excessive plastic waste and 24/7 energy operation.

“We look forward to seeing how STARS continuously improves its performance while inspiring other healthcare facilities to do the same,” said Ms Rooney.

At the 28th United Nations Climate Conference (COP28) in December 2023, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, Ged Kearney MP, launched Australia’s inaugural National Health and Climate Strategy.

Around 70% of the health system’s global emissions footprint is derived from the supply chain, including transport and disposal of medical goods. To address this, the government plans to collaborate with states, territories, industry, and suppliers to establish green procurement guidelines and foster sustainable resource use.

The recently launched Green Surgery Report further advocates for sustainable practices in surgical theatres, urging a shift from single-use to reusable medical equipment wherever feasible. Where ‘reduce and reuse’ are not possible, the lifespan of surgical items and devices can be extended through repair and remanufacture, and the recycling of waste.

Nicole Plant, Assistant Fund Manager at Australian Unity, underscored the collaborative efforts that led to STARS’ impressive rating, involving Australian Unity, Metro North Health, and facility manager Cushman & Wakefield.

“The rating offers a case study in green hospital building and operations for other Australian hospital owners who want to assess the sustainability of their operations,” stated Ms Plant.

Kellie Williams, Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change Manager at Metro North Health, highlighted the broader benefits of sustainable hospital operations, including enriched patient well-being and a more productive workforce.

“STARS’ innovative building design, operational excellence and public transport connectivity will benefit the city of Brisbane, as well as clinicians, patients and their families,” she emphasised.

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