John Hunter Hospital gets green roof

Filed in Just In by February 4, 2021

TODAY the Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD) announced it will be installing solar panels on the John Hunter Hospital roof, as part of a new initiative to become carbon and waste neutral by 2030.

The $3.2 million installation will be the largest solar panel installation on any hospital in the country, with panels covering 12,000 square metres, approximately 85 per cent of the hospital’s roof space.

Mr Michael DiRienzo, HNELHD Chief Executive, said the installations will significantly contribute to the state’s Net Zero Plan aspirational solar target.

“The District already has a head-start on its solar panel targets,” Mr DiRienzo said.

“We’re already harnessing clean, renewable power at a number of hospitals and work is underway to begin panel installation on more facilities in coming months,” he said.

The ‘Sustainable Healthcare: Together Towards Zero 2030’ initiative will also include significant investments in water sustainability and energy efficient practices.

(L-R): Mr Michael DiRienzo, Chief Executive, Hunter New England Local Health District with John Hunter Operating Theatre staff, Nurse Unit Manager Trudi Kwast and Registered Nurse Vicki Sandy, who are investigating opportunities to recycle clean, single use plastics used in their department. Photo: Hunter New England Local Health District.

“Within the next decade, we will be aiming to collect 100 percent of the rainwater that falls on our hospitals’ rooftops,” Mr DiRienzo said.

“We’ll also be working with staff to find appropriate ways to reuse and recycle water to make the most of the precious resource at each hospital site,” he said.

Mr DiRienzo said HNELHD are also investigating new ways to approach food and waste disposal in order to achieve their zero general waste to landfill goal by 2030.

“We’ll also be taking a closer look to see what health-specific waste normally thrown in the rubbish, like oxygen masks, PVC tubing, and clean, single–use plastics used every day in our operating theatres, are appropriate and safe for recycling,” Mr DiRienzo said.

“It’s clear we have some very ambitious plans in place, and we’re invested whole-heartedly to this commitment,” he said. 

“We know 25 per cent of all human disease and death in the world is attributed to unhealthy environments, like unclean air and water, and that health as an industry is a major contributor of carbon emissions.

“The reality is, it’s no longer possible to be committed to the health of our community without addressing the health of our environment.

“I’m so proud of the work we’ve done to date and we’re only just getting started,” said Mr DiRienzo.

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