Technical guidelines 04 June 2020

Updated guidelines for sustainability in capital works released

Our updated 'Guidelines for sustainability in capital works' have been released. The guidelines set the sustainability standards and expectations for all public healthcare capital works in Victoria.

This comprehensive guide provides advice and information on how to build sustainable and resilient healthcare buildings.

Tiernan Humphrys, sustainability manager at VHHSBA, says, ‘Buildings are about people. To be sustainable and resilient, buildings need to meet the needs of our patients, staff and visitors now and in the future. Hospitals are built to make sick people well, not to make well people sicker.’

When healthcare buildings are sustainable and resilient, they deliver:

  • better patient outcomes
  • higher employee satisfaction and productivity
  • lower environmental impacts
  • greater resilience during disasters or crises lower operating costs.

The updated sustainability guidelines are applicable to all healthcare capital works delivered by VHHSBA. This includes new builds, retrofits and refurbishments.

The guidelines have been developed with a focus on Victorian public healthcare capital works. They may also be applicable to other public and private healthcare capital works across Australia.

Why are the guidelines important?

The health sector has an important role in reducing government carbon emissions in Victoria. Public hospitals and health services contribute around 20 per cent of the Victorian Government’s operational carbon emissions.

In 2018-19, Victoria’s public hospitals and health services emitted close to 0.9 mega-tonnes of carbon emissions. Carbon emissions from energy use comprised 91 per cent of total emissions and energy costs were $157 million.

It is important to build healthcare facilities that are sustainable and resilient because it allows us to:

  • maximise our health budget for frontline services
  • reduce their contribution to climate change
  • ensure resilience to our future climate.

How are the new guidelines different?

The sustainability guidelines were last updated in 2010. The key structure and principles of the guidelines have not changed and the sustainability allowance of 2.5 per cent remains. However, the updated guidelines have a greater focus on:

  • universal design
  • passive design
  • climate adaptation and resilience.

The business as usual requirements have also been updated and include information on:

  • installation of solar
  • resource recovery
  • indoor environment quality
  • theatre set-backs.

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Last updated: 04 June 2020