Australia’s healthcare sector generates seven per cent of the nation’s carbon emissions, according to a paper published in the January 2018 issue of medical journal The Lancet Planetary Health. To put that in a global perspective, the local figure sits between the UK (at three per cent) and the US (at ten per cent). The major contributors to emissions in this sector were hospitals (both public and private) and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

When it comes to designing healthcare centres, there is a lot we can do to create more sustainable buildings. Employing smart techniques can make a huge difference to the environment, your patients, and your business as a whole. Here are three ways you can help the sector move towards a smaller carbon footprint in your new build:

Light and energy

By designing your healthcare centre to make the most of natural light, you can significantly reduce the electrical requirements for powered lighting. Since you’ll be relying on daylight to illuminate much of the space, only supplementary lighting will be needed. There are numerous studies that cite sunlight as beneficial to the healing process, so utilising natural light is beneficial to everyone.

There are numerous methods that can also reduce energy expenditure. Whether it’s better insulation, double-glazed windows or implementing better seals on doors and windows, there are multiple solutions that you can talk through during design development.

Green lighting solutions can help to reduce our industry's carbon footprint.Being smart about lighting solutions can drastically reduce your energy spend.

Reuse materials

Reusing certain materials can go a long way towards a greener building. The potentially reusable materials will differ greatly depending on your specialist area and the design of your site, but there are numerous clever ways to do this.

Reuse is about making the most of the resources available to you. Take this example from a hospital in Idaho; after finding a layer of basalt a few metres below the surface of the site, the options were to move it or use it. They ultimately decided to break up the rock and use it for landscaping and structural fill.

Use materials less damaging to the environment

Not all materials are created equally. Some involve a huge amount of energy output to produce, while others are far less taxing on the environment.

A great example of using a more environmentally conscious material is opting to use linoleum over vinyl for flooring. Linoleum is made primarily of natural products, and produces fewer emissions than vinyl. This kind of approach to design goes far beyond the floor, a smart designer will have multiple tricks up their sleeve for an environmentally sound build.

We have a long way to go bring down healthcare emissions but one way you can start is by ensuring your new build is as green as possible. By working with the team at Space For Health, trusted advisors in healthcare architecture and design, we can help you reach your green goals. Contact us today.