nWCH Green Credentials an Australian-first

14 May 2021

In a vital step towards an emissions-free health sector, the Marshall Liberal Government will make the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital Australia’s first all-electric hospital.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said the new purpose-built hospital will not be connected to South Australian natural gas infrastructure for building engineering services.

“We have a responsibility to reduce the carbon footprint of the healthcare sector. The new Women’s and Children’s Hospital (nWCH) will operate for decades to come and will have a higher energy demand, in line with modern, technically advanced facilities. It would be negligent if we didn’t consider the impact of that increased demand on the environment and future generations,” Minister Wade said.

“The electrification of the hospital will rule out the use of gas for heating and cooking equipment, meaning that no fossil fuels will be used to power heating, hot water and kitchen functions within the building.

“This will be the first brand new hospital in Australia to be 100 percent electrified. An expansion of the current Canberra Hospital will also be all-electric, but the old part of the facility will remain with gas power in the energy source mix.”

The new hospital’s equipment will be connected to an electricity source that is either supplied from the grid or through on-site electricity generation and storage, rather than through the mains gas network.

It is estimated that the all-electric hospital will help avoid an additional 2,178 tonnes of greenhouse emissions each year, the equivalent of taking approximately 700 vehicles off the road.

Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the Marshall Government’s commitment to a 100 percent renewable electricity grid by 2030 and SA Water’s zero emissions future will mean the all-electric nWCH will be the most sustainable major public hospital in Australia.

“This will not only improve operating costs for the life of the hospital but will ensure South Australia will continue to lead the country in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint,” Mr van Holst Pellekaan said.

“By investing in renewables, we are reducing South Australia’s emissions footprint, with well over half of the state’s electricity now being produced by wind and solar energy projects.

“The South Australian electricity grid is one of the cleanest in the country - using the highest amount of variable renewable energy from sun and wind of any state.”

The nWCH will include the following environmentally sustainable design features:

  • A HUNDRED percent electrical energy systems to eliminate fossil fuel use on site and maximise the use of the highly renewable South Australian electricity grid, enabling a net zero operational energy hospital as the South Australian electricity grid transitions to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030;
  • CAPTURE and storage of rainwater and connection to recycled water supply for suitable uses (landscape watering, toilet flushing, building services);
  • DESIGN for waste to landfill minimisation;
  • HIGH QUALITY internal environment through access to nature, natural lighting and increased outside air to improve hospital amenity for staff and consumers;
  • RESILIENT design including capacity to withstand projected climate change events, and;
  • LOW EMISSIONS building materials that are preferably locally made (minimising transportation emissions and stimulating the local economy)

The Marshall Government has so far committed $685 million to the nWCH with the final cost to be determined as part of the State Budget process.