«Australian public hospitals’ energy choices are at odds with ‘first do no harm’.«
«The healthcare sector faces many of the consequences of climate change, but is lagging behind in tackling its own contribution to this health threat (1). Increases in extreme weather are contributing to adverse physical, mental and intergenerational health outcomes in Australia and beyond (2, 3). Despite these health implications, healthcare itself pollutes, being responsible for 7% of Australia’s total carbon footprint (4). Coal-generated electricity and natural/fossil gas are considerable sources of healthcare’s CO2 equivalent (CO2e) emissions (4), and also contribute to local air particulate matter with cardiorespiratory consequences (3).
Hospitals have large energy demands due to continuous operation, primarily from heating, ventilation and air conditioning (5). The demand is so large that public hospitals consume over half of public-sector energy in most Australian states and territories (6, 7). Hospitals should therefore be key stakeholders in Australian state/territory decarbonisation efforts.
Internationally, healthcare institutions have recognised and are acting on their energy choices, signing on to 100% renewable electricity targets for their healthcare facilities (5).»
Article written by Hayden Burch, Matthew H Anstey and Forbes McGain