Sustainability first for good health

Sustainability in healthcare is about more than just waste management (although that's critically important too).

The real benefits are economic and social as well as environmental, so our first sustainability workshop in June brought together more than 40 staff members, experts and planners to explore what sustainability really means for us, and what we can do now to make a difference.

More than 250 ideas were generated on the day, with energy a top priority.

Our other priorities included connecting with nature, reducing waste, and offering great public transport, walking and cycling options.

 "The workshop ideas have been given to our architects to incorporate into the hospital master planning and early design thinking," said Health Infrastructure senior project director Andrew Paris.

"It's important that we think about those issues early so we can reduce the hospital’s emissions, consider different waste management strategies and bring nature inside."

For example, new waste streams for plastics such as PPE and operating theatre packaging waste require space in back-of-house areas for industrial collection bins or granulators (plastic munching machines) for recycling, but offer a more sustainable option for the future.

Health Infrastructure's sustainability manager Ingrid Segovia said it's all about thinking smarter.

"A complex, contemporary hospital can take five years or more to plan and deliver, and technology can be completely transformed in that time," Ingrid said.

Citing the seismic shift in climate change awareness and activism, Ingrid said there is also an expectation that government agencies use their influence to drive change in the planning and construction industry.

"With the New Bankstown Hospital, we want to consider every option and build change into the design, so if there is a newer, smarter solution for energy, packaging, recycling, water management or construction, we're ready," Ingrid said.

Read the report

We want to be an exemplar for sustainability so when you walk into the hospital, you can see what we’re doing towards that goal.Workshop attendee