C.19 Ecologically sustainable development

The ACT Health Directorate actively supports whole-of-government sustainability initiatives and in 2012‑13 continued to work closely with the Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate to embed climate change policy, energy policy and environmental sustainability into the delivery of service.

Sustainability planning

To assist with its planning processes, ACT Health developed the ACT Health Directorate Sustainability Strategy (2010), which outlines the current environmental challenges presented by increasing demands on health care in the ACT and provides a roadmap for a collaborative sustainable future. It encapsulates a picture of where the directorate wants to be in 30 years’ time and takes into account all the key elements contributing to a sustainable and dynamic future. The Sustainability Strategy contains seven focus areas (Models of Care, Buildings and Infrastructure, the Digital Health Environment, Transport, Regulatory Environment, Workforce, and Partnerships and External Service Delivery).

During 2012‑13, ACT Health undertook extensive work on finalising the Sustainability Action Plan, in line with the Sustainability Strategy. Development of the Action Plan was supported by ACT Health’s Leadership Network, which consists of the agency’s future leaders. These staff embraced development of the Action Plan, which contains short-, medium- and long-term actions to be implemented across the directorate, with 93 per cent of the short-term actions (1–3 years) already completed.

These actions include:

  • significant reduction in operating costs
  • improved quality of the internal environment for staff and visitors
  • future-proofing of buildings so that they are able to adapt to future requirements
  • informed design choices, based on whole-of-life considerations
  • reduction in carbon emissions.

ACT Health continues to demonstrate its commitment to the principles of ecologically sustainable development by:

  • closely monitoring its use of resources
  • integrating economic, social and environmental considerations into decision-making
  • implementing measures to minimise the impact of agency activities on the environment.

ACT Health developed the Sustainability–Environmental Principles and Guidelines for Building and Infrastructure document to inform all capital projects and major refurbishment works regarding sustainable design and functionality that aligns with the ACT Government’s targets.

For the purpose of the Agency Resource Use Data Table at the end of this section, office space is classified as it is in section C.13 of this Annual Report; that is, fully inclusive of new office space. The Canberra Hospital campus buildings’ housing office space has also been included this year.

Energy use

Total energy use in 2012‑13 increased by 5,410,420 megajoules (approximately 2.35 per cent) compared with 2011‑12, due to:

  • increased building and clinical space associated with the Health Infrastructure Program (HIP)
  • an increase in clinical demand across the directorate, both in the acute and non-acute areas.

New space in 2012‑13, which had an impact on energy usage, included:

  • the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children Stage 1, which opened in September 2012
  • the Gungahlin Community Health Centre, which opened in August 2012
  • the fully operational Adult Mental Health Unit
  • additional beds implemented across the Canberra Hospital.

Other developments nearing completion which will increase energy usage in the near future include:

  • Stage 2 of the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children
  • Canberra Region Cancer Centre
  • additional Canberra Hospital (TCH) beds currently being constructed
  • the new Belconnen Enhanced Community Health Centre
  • Tuggeranong Community Health Centre extension.

In 2012‑13, the following initiatives to improve energy management were either implemented or continued across ACT Health:

  • replacement of several gas-fired boilers at Canberra Hospital
  • replacement of air-conditioning fan coil units throughout Building 1 at Canberra Hospital
  • ongoing upgrade of electrical distribution boards across many areas of the directorate
  • ongoing installation of energy-efficient, occupancy-sensor or time-controlled lighting for non-critical building lighting and air-conditioning systems
  • continued review, monitoring and tracking of large plant equipment (e.g. high-energy use chillers and boilers), with programming adjustments made, where possible, by the building management system to maintain peak efficiency
  • replacement of older, larger electrical equipment in non-acute areas with more energy-efficient units, e.g. pan flushers and utensil washers
  • installation of boiler heat recovery and burner management systems.

Water consumption

ACT Health’s main use of water is for the provision of clinical treatment and associated services for patients and clients. The most significant consumption of water is attributable to:

  • patient services, clinical use associated with a 24-hour service, including bathrooms
  • chilled and hot water services for air-conditioning systems for wards, operating rooms and treatment areas
  • operations within the kitchens and preparation of patient meals
  • an increase in building-related activities associated with the Health Infrastructure Program
  • sterilisation of surgical instruments, including water used in autoclave units
  • renal dialysis treatments

ACT Health’s total water consumption increased from 186,552 kilolitres in 2011‑12 to 194,088 kilolitres in 2012‑13, an increase of 7,536 kilolitres or 4 per cent.

This increase is attributable to:

  • operational activity associated with the use of the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children Stage 1 and the Adult Mental Health Unit. Both buildings add additional bathrooms and clinical requirements.
  • construction requirements for the Canberra Region Cancer Centre and Stage 2 of the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children
  • additional beds at the Canberra Hospital
  • increased service delivery across ACT Health
  • operational activity associated with the Gungahlin Community Health Centre.

The graph below summarises total water consumption data for ACT Health, represented as total kilolitres used, from 2008–09 when it was 154,711 kilolitres to 2012‑13 when it was 194,088.


Water consumption graph

ACT Health Annual Water Consumption

The ongoing implementation and review of a variety of water efficiency initiatives continued through 2012‑13, including:

  • installation of flow restrictors on a range of plumbing fixtures (e.g. showers, hand basins and toilets for all new works and refurbishments)
  • installation of six-star energy rating fixtures as replacements, where practical
  • replacement of heating pipe work and associated works at TCH
  • boiler upgrades at TCH
  • continuation of restrictions on the use of potable water for outside watering at all Health Directorate facilities and deactivation of all garden sprinklers and decommissioning of fountains
  • monitoring of water meters for cooling towers usage
  • use of newly-installed tank water for outdoor garden watering and external washing of facilities, buildings and pavements.

Greenhouse gas emissions

ACT Health supports and participates in the Australian Government Department of Climate Change benchmarking through the Online System for Comprehensive Activity Reporting (OSCAR) database. OSCAR standardises the calculation of greenhouse gas emissions to produce comparable data sets on environmental performance.

Improved data gathering implemented during 2011‑12 and 2012‑13 enabled enhanced monitoring of greenhouse gas emission trends across ACT Health in future years.


In 2012‑13, the Health Directorate vehicle fleet increased in number by one vehicle. The following transport data was reported for 2012‑13:

  • Total fuel use reduced from 365.2kilolitres (petrol and diesel combined) reported for 2011‑12 to 362.4 kilolitres for 2012‑13. This is a reduction of 0.76 per cent.
  • Total petrol fuel use was reported as 228.1 kilolitres; total diesel use was 134.4 kilolitres.
  • Total number of vehicle kilometres travelled remained relatively static at 4,046,311 kilometres, compared to 4,056,252 kilometres reported for 2011‑12, a reduction of 0.25 per cent.
  • Vehicle utilisation decreased from 12,636 to 12,566 kilometres (0.6 per cent).
  • Average fleet fuel consumption remained static at 8.97 litres per 100 kilometres relative to the 2011‑12 figure of 9.00 litres per 100 kilometres.
  • Total transport greenhouse gas emissions (all scopes) reduced from 987 tonnes COe to 975 tonnes, a reduction of 1.22 per cent.
  • Transport greenhouse gas intensity improved from 0.16 tonnes COe per headcount to 0.15 tonnes per headcount (5.4 per cent).
  • Total transport energy use was 12,988 gigajoules.


Fuel utilisation graph

Fuel Utilisation Per Financial Year

In June 2010, the Health Directorate entered into a contract with Carpool-It.com (Australia) Pty Ltd (also known as MyCarpools) for the development and hosting of a car-pooling system for staff. Subsequently the ACT Government introduced MyCarpools across ACT Government directorates and since June 2012 ACT Health has been participating in this program. Usage of the ACT Government’s MyCarpools has steadily increased since its inception.

Since 2012, 301 users have registered, with 110 of those users being staff of ACT Health. There are currently 15 car-pooling groups registered with MyCarpools, of which 13 are made up of ACT Health staff, resulting in ACT Health having the largest number of active car-pooling staff across the ACT Government.

ACT Health will acquire two electrical vehicles in the next financial year.

New bicycle facilities at Canberra Hospital have helped staff to use this mode of transport to work.

Waste minimisation (NoWaste)

ISS Health Services (ISS) provides a waste management solution for the Health Directorate under the terms of the ACT Health Domestic and Environmental Services Contract. ISS services are provided to 17 sites, including the Canberra Hospital.

Health Directorate and ISS developed and implemented a Health Waste Management Plan, which was endorsed in August 2012. The management of all waste services by one provider and in accordance with the waste plan facilitates the delivery of a uniform approach to waste management activities.

The Health Waste Management Plan complies with the principles of the ACT Sustainable Waste Strategy 2010–2015, which builds on the success of the NoWaste by 2010 ACT Government strategy released in 1996 and provides for:

  • monitoring and measuring of all services through internal benchmarking activities, target setting, waste audits, waste data collection and reporting
  • improved systems to recycle, reduce and reuse as many resources as possible from waste streams, including paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, cans, fluorescent tubes, metal, batteries, toner cartridges, and biodegradables.
  • ACT Health is also a signatory to the ACT Government ACTSmart program, which aligns with and supports the initiatives of the Health Waste Management Plan, specifically in increasing recycling outputs. ACT Health and ISS are working closely with ACTSmart representatives to increase recycling outputs through education for staff and the implementation of recycling systems within administrative areas.
  • ACT Health introduced waste streaming stations into the design of all new buildings coming on line through the Health Infrastructure Program (HIP).
  • ACT Health collaborated with Australian National University (ANU) Medical School students on the ACT Green Hospitals Project 2010–2013. One of the aims of the project was to encourage and increase correct streaming of waste at the point of disposal in the Canberra Hospital theatres. The project delivered a 4.6 per cent reduction of waste incorrectly disposed of into the clinical waste stream, therefore reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with clinical waste treatments and disposal.
  • ACT Health received an EA rating (excellent achievement) from the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS) for Waste and Environmental Management in relation to Criterion 3.2.3 EQUIP5 of the accreditation process undertaken in November 2012.

Agency resource use data


  Indicator as at 30 June Unit 2011‑12 2012‑13
Line General   Office Total Office Total
L1 Occupancy – staff full-time equivalent Numeric (FTE) 413 6,270 1,1621 6,5402
L2 Area office space –
net lettable area
Square metres (m2) 5,990 249,8773 17,4814 228,090
  Stationary Energy   Office Total Office Total
L3 Electricity use Kilowatt hours 2,514,171 35,382,895 1,715,888 34,664,9565
L46 Renewable energy use (GreenPower + EDL land fill gases) Kilowatt hours 1,122,211 8,908,951 N/a 3,328,618
L5 Percentage of renewable energy used (L4 / L3 x 100) Percentage 44.63 25.20 N/a 9.60
L6 Natural Gas use Megajoules 2,183,387 103,065,000 1,962,000 111,060,000
L7 Total energy use Megajoules 11,234,403 230,443,422 8,139,197 235,853,842
L8 Energy intensity per FTE (L7 / L1) Megajoules / FTE 23,820 36,753 7,004 36,063
L9 Energy intensity per square metre (L7 / L2) Megajoules / m2 1,642 922 466 1,034
  Transport   Office Total Office Total
L10 Total number of vehicles Numeric N/a 321 N/a 322
L11 Total vehicle kilometres travelled Kilometres (km) N/a 4,056,252 N/a 4,046,311
L12 Transport fuel (Petrol) Kilolitres N/a 212 N/a 228
L13 Transport fuel (Diesel) Kilolitres N/a 152 N/a 134
L14 Transport fuel (LPG) Kilolitres
L15 Transport fuel (CNG) Kilolitres
L16 Total transport energy use Gigajoules N/a 13,162 N/a 12,988
  Water   Office Total Office Total
L17 Water use Kilolitres N/a 186,5527 N/a 194,0888
L18 Water use per FTE (L17 / L1) Kilolitres / FTE N/a 29.75 N/a 29.68
L19 Water use per square metre
(L17 / L2)
Kilolitres / m2 N/a 0.70 N/a 0.85


Agency resource use data (continued)


  Indicator as at 30 June Unit 2011‑12 2012‑13
Line General   Office Total Office Total
  Resource Efficiency and Waste   Office Total Office Total
L20 Reams of paper purchased Reams N/a 44,603 N/a 48,2599
L21 Recycled content of
paper purchased
Percentage N/a 7.41 N/a 4.95
L22 Estimate of general waste
(based on bins collected)
Litres N/a 25,904,736 N/a 19,805.57710
L23 Estimate of cominlged material recycled (based on bins collected) Litres N/a 1,796,850 N/a 1,892,88011
L24 Estimate of paper recycled
(based on bins collected)
Litres N/a 1,477,222 N/a 1,194,34812
L25 Estimate of organic material recycled (based on bins collected) Litres 0% 0%
  Greenhouse Gas Emissions   Office Total Office Total
L26 Total stationary energy greenhouse gas emissions
(All Scopes)
Tonnes CO2-e 1,644 43,862 1,957 40,666
L27 Total transport greenhouse gas emissions (All Scopes) Tonnes CO2-e N/a 987 N/a 975
L28 Greenhouse gas emissions per person (L26 / L1) Tonnes CO2-e / FTE 3.90 7.0 1.68 6.21
L29 Greenhouse gas emissions per square metre (L26 / L2) Tonnes CO2-e / m2 0.27 0.18 0.11 0.18
L30 Transport greenhouse gas emissions per person (L27 / L1) Tonnes CO2-e / FTE N/a 0.15 N/a 0.14


1 Variation to 2011‑12 is the inclusion of 12 Moore Street Level 1, Carruthers Street Curtin, Buildings 23 & 24, office space within Buildings 2 & 6 TCH and Building 12 Medical Records Department.

2 Headcount, not FTE.

3 Includes 4,548m2 that was included twice in 2011‑12.

4 Variation to 2011‑12 is the inclusion of 12 Moore Street Level 1, Carruthers Street Curtin, Buildings 23 & 24, office space within Buildings 2 & 6 TCH, and Building 12 Medical Records Department.

5 Reduction in consumption as space occupied by non-government entities has been removed.

6 Green Power being reported at whole-of-government level by TAMS.

7 This amount was incorrectly reported in the 2011‑12 Annual report section A.10 Triple Bottom Line as 183,174 kilolitres. This was an administrative error and 186,552 kilolitres is correct, as stated in the C.19 table of the 2011‑12 report on page 318.

8 Increase in water consumption due to the full year effect of a new building coming on line.

9 Figure reflects an 8 per cent increase of paper reams purchased associated with increased headcount/activity growth across all Health.

10 Note 2011‑12 landfill litres reflected 18 months of data/weights. The adjusted 12-month landfill litres figure is 17,717,865 litres.
2012‑13 landfill litres represents an increase of 2,087,712 litres (12 per cent) when compared to the adjusted figure from 2011‑12.
This is due to increased growth. TCH only.

11 2011‑12 comingled recycled litres reflected 18 months of data/weights. The adjusted 12-month comingled recycled litres figure is 1,302,290 litres. 2012‑13 comingled recycled litres represents an increase of 590,590 litres (45.3 per cent) when compared to the adjusted figure from 2011‑12. This is due to improved recycling systems and increased growth. TCH only.

12 2011‑12 paper recycled litres reflected 18 months of data/weights. The adjusted 12-month paper recycled litres figure is 1,139,422 litres. 2012‑13 paper-recycled litres represents an increase of 54,926 litres (4.8 per cent) when compared to the adjusted figure from 2011‑12, due to improved education/signage. Across all Health sites.