B.9 Ecologically sustainable development

Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment

ACT Health provides the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment with updates on progress with the implementation of the Commissioner’s recommendations from completed reports and inquiries. These updates are incorporated into the Commissioner’s annual report.

In 2015–16, the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment did not investigate any activities carried out by ACT Health.

Contribution to ecologically sustainable development

To achieve the ACT Government’s target of zero net emissions by 2020, ACT Health actively:

  • participates in the whole-of-government ecologically sustainable development initiatives
  • continues to work towards embedding sustainability initiatives into service delivery.

In addition, ACT Health works closely with the Environment and Planning Directorate on sustainability activities and initiatives.

During 2015–16, ACT Health reviewed its sustainability strategy, the draft Sustainability Strategy 2016–2020, incorporates the following emission reduction priorities:

  • Resource Management Plan
  • Buildings and Infrastructure
  • the Digital Health Environment
  • Our People, Partnerships
  • External Service Delivery for Climate Change Adaptation and Procurement.

The strategy contains a roadmap that effectively signposts the attributes necessary for building an environmentally sustainable organisation.

ACT Health also reviewed its Resource Management Plan this financial year and not yet endorsed/released the Resource Management Plan (RMP) 2016–2020.

The RMP sets a clear obligation for ACT Health to demonstrate its commitment to environmental sustainability to the wider ACT Public Service (ACTPS) and the Canberra community. It provides an exciting opportunity for ACT Health to demonstrate what can be achieved in terms of sustainability.

With the guidance of the RMP, ACT Health aims to be committed to responsible and sustainable resource management through the effective and focused actions of our staff.

ACT Health used the ACT Health Environmental Principles and Guidelines – Building and Infrastructure Projects document to inform new building developments and building refurbishments.

ACT Health policies, programs and plans assist to promote Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD), by including economic, social and environmental considerations in decision-making processes. This is required by the Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act 2010 and the Environment Protection Act 1997.

ACT Health actively participates in the ACT Government Carbon Neutral Government Implementation Committee and Buildings and Infrastructure Subcommittee.

In 2015–16, ACT Health successfully secured approximately $3.3 million from the Carbon Neutral Government Loan Fund to:

  • implement LED lighting across the Canberra Hospital campus
  • erect a 500kw solar photovoltaic array on the roof of the southern, multi-storey car park (Building 26).

On completion, this project will actualise energy savings for one of ACT Health’s largest energy consumption sites.

ACT Health also provided a supported framework for staff to set up Green Teams. ACT Health is required to establish Green Teams to progress the actions contained in the ACT Government Carbon Neutrality Framework with a key objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, Property Management and Maintenance has incorporated sustainability as a topic for discussion during toolbox meetings to encourage maintenance staff to think more sustainably and provide input into strategies that will lead to greater environmental outcomes.


ACT Health continues to utilise the Enterprise Sustainability Platform (ESP) database to capture data for analysis and reporting purposes and to inform operational management of trends and potential energy usage reduction strategies.

The Sustainability Committee (the Health Infrastructure Sustainability Reference Group) continues to review the energy efficiency and whole-of-life costing of building elements for all new builds to assist in reducing carbon emissions.

The May 2015 application to the Carbon Neutral Government Fund (CNGF) has been approved. The project is underway and will:

  • install solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roof of the multi-storey car park at Canberra Hospital
  • rollout LED lighting to buildings on Canberra Hospital campus.

Initiatives incorporated into the various ACT Health new building projects, upgrades and improvements, aimed at reducing carbon emissions include:

  • installing energy efficient lighting, including emergency lighting
  • installing motion sensors for lighting in office areas
  • trialling energy efficient window glazing, including double glazing in some areas
  • installing intelligent networked lighting controls, for example the Dali lighting system, to enable ongoing lighting reviews to gain energy efficiencies
  • considering sustainable procurement principles when purchasing consumables and products used in building maintenance
  • implementing energy efficient chillers
  • upgrading to direct digital control of heating ventilation and air conditioning
  • installing variable speed drive control for ventilation fans
  • converting selected large air handling systems to modulating economy cycle operation
  • using the Building IQ system and building analytical software to better manage  Property Management and Maintenance utilities
  • analysing ACTSmart Enterprise Sustainable Platform data to help identify saving opportunities.


The nature of the services delivered by ACT Health causes a heavy reliance on water, for both clinical and domestic usage, for example:

  • patient showers
  • theatre operations
  • sterilising surgical equipment.

Efficient water initiatives incorporated into the various ACT Health new buildings, upgrades and improvements aimed at reducing water usage include:

  • re-using Reverse Osmosis (RO) water from the renal process in the toilet facilities at identified community health centres
  • installing flow restrictors on a range of plumbing fixtures, for example showers, hand basins and toilets
  • installing motion sensors where applicable, while considering infection control issues
  • using star-rated plumbing fixtures when replacing old, broken or obsolete equipment, where practical
  • replacing heating pipe work and associated works at Canberra Hospital, in accordance with the preventative maintenance schedule
  • continuing restrictions on the use of potable (drinkable) water for outside watering of landscapes at all ACT Health facilities, deactivating all garden sprinklers and decommissioning fountains
  • using Canberra Hospital water meter data to monitor and analyse water usage, identify any anomalies and allow identified issues to be fixed immediately
  • continuing to use tank water for outdoor garden watering and external washing of facilities, buildings and pavements, where tanks are installed
  • analysing ACTSmart Enterprise Sustainable Platform data to help identify saving opportunities.


ACT Health recycled more than 300 tons of waste during the 2015–16 financial year, including paper, cardboard, plastics, cans and glass. In addition, ACT Health recycles batteries, organic matter, fluorescent light tubes and metal. ACT Health is progressing towards achieving accreditation from the ACTSmart Recycling Program for the recycling of these wastes.

 In December 2015, ACT Health released a tender for the provision of cleaning and waste services management across numerous ACT Health sites. A primary objective in the tender specifications is implementing a waste management strategy that will achieve ACTSmart accreditation. The tender specifications include the requirement to identify the level of funding and resources that will be required to achieve this objective.

ACT Health continues to support the implementation of the ACTSmart Recycling Program across both acute and non-acute sites. In 2016, the ACTSmart Online Recycling Training continued to be made available to staff. The training provides staff with education and guidance on the impacts of and outcomes the program can deliver at ACT Health sites to improve resource recovery and reduce waste.

The ACT Health Staging and Decanting Strategy also incorporates the ACTSmart Business Recycling Programs into the refurbishment of new areas. Staff are supported to participate in the training offered to achieve maximum recycling outcomes.


ACT Health assesses replacement vehicles for efficiencies, both fuel and greenhouse gas emissions, when vehicle replacement occurs.

ACT Health increased its electric vehicles fleet to five, from three in 2014–15, and continues to explore opportunities to include additional electric vehicles. A total of 14 electric vehicle charging stations have been installed at ACT Health buildings across the Canberra region. The total fleet is 320 vehicles.

ACT Health continues to install Electronic Log Books into vehicles. This improves Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT) reporting and enhances the data used to improve fleet utilisation.

Staff are encouraged to use active travel (walk, bus or bike) for trips of less than four kilometres, instead of using motor vehicles.

Fuel usage decreased during the 2015–16 financial year.

ACT Health continues to encourage car pooling among its staff and has designated car spaces at Canberra Hospital car parks for staff who take up this option.

Sustainable development performance

Table 50: ACT Health operational consumption of resources
Indicator as at 30 June 2016 Unit Current FY (2015–16) Previous FY (2014–15) Percentage change
Agency staff and area
Agency staff FTE 6,324.2 6,195.4 2%
Agency staff Headcount 7,195 7,064 1.8%
Workplace floor area Area (m2) 292,849 265,475 [1] 10.3%
Stationary energy usage
Electricity use Kilowatt hours 37,810,168 36,399,242 3.8% [2]
Renewable electricity use Kilowatt hours - - - [3]
Natural gas use Megajoules 109,715,318 109,252,309 0.4%
Transport fuel usage
Total number of vehicles Number 321 321 0% [4]
Total kilometres travelled Kilometres 3,387,120 3,755,211 -9.8%
Fuel use – Petrol Kilolitres 179 199 -10%
Fuel use – Diesel Kilolitres 124 128 -3.1%
Fuel use – Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) Kilolitres - - -
Fuel use – Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Kilolitres - - -
Water usage
Water use Kilolitres 235,901 [5] 244,905 -3.6%
Resource efficiency and waste
Reams of paper purchased Reams 44,415 49,487 -10%
Recycled content of paper purchased Percentage 9% 21.6% -58% [6]
Waste to landfill Litres 24,791,035 23,758,168 4.3%
Co-mingled material recycled Litres 5,475,279 5,682,435 -3.6%
Paper & Cardboard recycled (incl. secure paper) Litres 1,195,288 1,117,613 6.9%
Organic material recycled Litres 11,984 7,262 65%
Greenhouse gas emissions
Emissions from stationary energy use Tonnes CO2-e 36,286 36,426 [7] -0.3%
Emissions from transport Tonnes CO2-e 820.32 879.12 -6.6%
Total emissions Tonnes CO2-e 37,105.32 37,078.12 0.07%


[1] Error in the workplace floor area figure of 274,480 reported in 2014-15. This figure included a double up of some office accommodation.
[2] The increase in electricity usage in 2015-16 may be associated with activity and infrastructure growth across all of ACT Health for example, Building 15 and the Emergency Department expansion (refer to C.4 Asset Management).
[3] Not reported at Directorate level, only reported at Whole of Government level.
[4] Whilst the total number of vehicles has remained the same for 2014-15 and 2015-16, the number of electric vehicles included in this figure has increased from 2 during the 2014-15 year to 5 during the 2015-16 year.
[5] To ensure the data is as complete and representative of the Current FY as is practicable, the data reported here (99% complete) is for the 12 month period 1  May 2015 to 20 April 2016. For comparison purposes, the data reported in the Previous FY column is for the previous corresponding 12 month period.
[6] The amount of recycled paper purchased by ACT Health decreased by 58 per cent for 2015-16 when compared to 2014-15. ACT Health encourages the use of recycled paper and is investigating the reasons for the decrease.
[7] Any differences between Enterprise Sustainability Platform sourced data in the Previous FY (2014-15) and that in the original 2014-15 Report is due to updates to agency occupancy and historical consumption data.