In an Australian first, the Canberra Hospital Expansion (CHE) will be powered by renewable energy, the ACT Government announced today (2 September).
The new emergency, surgical and critical healthcare facility at the existing hospital site in Woden is expected to be completed in 2024, with construction set to begin early next year.
ACT Climate Change and Sustainability Minister, Shane Rattenbury, said the expansion would be powered by electric heat pumps, and is consistent with the Government’s climate change strategy. This includes actions to ensure reduced emissions specifically from ACT Health facilities and to ensure new government buildings are emissions-free.
He said that once operational, the CHE would avoid 1,886 tonnes of carbon being released into the atmosphere each year – the equivalent to removing 760 cars from ACT roads – and was a significant step towards an emissions-free health sector.
“At a time of climate emergency, every decision made by governments must consider climate impacts. Across all sectors and across government, we must act now to put our climate first,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“Buildings like these will last for decades to come, and would otherwise be gas-powered – at significant health and financial cost to our community.
“Gas is a polluting fossil fuel, and the ACT Government has committed to transitioning away from climate-warming energy sources and, instead, is fully embracing the renewable energy revolution.”
Mr Rattenbury said the CHE is proof the ACT is the “nation’s climate action capital”.
The Government announced in August that global development company Multiplex had been selected for the construction of the expansion.
The $500 million Canberra Hospital Expansion (formerly referred to as SPIRE) will include 60 ICU beds, four of which will be paediatric ICU beds, 22 operating theatres, 55 day surgery beds and an additional 39 emergency department treatment spaces.