Brisbane hospital honoured with Australia-first Green Star rating

by Helena Morgan
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Staying true to its acronym, the Surgical Treatment and Rehabilitation Service (STARS) in Herston Quarter, Brisbane, has become the first hospital in Australia to receive a 5 Star Green Star Performance rating by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

Developed to keep new builds and refurbishments ecologically accountable, the 5 Star Green Star Performance rating analyses a building’s performance across categories such as indoor environment, energy, transport, water, land use, ecology, and many others. The 5 Star rating is an Australia-focused award that celebrates superb environmental performance and commitment to tackling social issues. 

The 182-bed and nine-storey Herston Quarter hospital – designed by architecture practice Hassell – has been recognised for its efficient water systems and processes, sustainable waste management and architectural design that lends itself to airflow and peak thermal performance.

STARS also works to protect the environmentally vital surrounding areas, in addition to boasting convenient access to public transport routes.

Setting the precedent for other hospitals to follow

GBCA chief executive officer Davina Rooney says many hospitals report difficulty managing waste and carbon sustainably. Hospitals are one of Australia’s largest polluters – contributing to seven percent of national emissions, alongside generating excessive plastic waste and 24/7 energy operation. 

However, STARS demonstrates that following environmentally responsible practices and operations, even as a carbon-heavy facility, is achievable. 

“STARS has set a new standard in the Australian health sector for energy and water consumption, thermal insulation and decreased operational emissions,” says Rooney. 

“We look forward to seeing how STARS continuously improves its performance while inspiring other health care facilities to do the same.”

Product of collaboration and cooperation 

Australian Unity assistant fund manager Nicole Plant confirmed the 5 Star rating is owed to collaborative efforts between Australian Unity, STARS operator Metro North Health and facility manager Cushman & Wakefield. These entities share a commitment to delivering sustainable healthcare infrastructure. 

“The rating offers a case study in green hospital building and operations for other Australian hospital owners who want to assess the sustainability of their operations,” says Plant. 

Design that promotes health and wellbeing 

Metro North Health’s environmental sustainability and climate change manager Kellie Williams points to recent research that suggests sustainably operating hospitals contribute to enriched patient wellbeing, and a more productive and energised workforce. 

“STARS’ innovative building design, operational excellence and public transport connectivity will benefit the city of Brisbane, as well as clinicians, patients and their families,” says Williams. 

Australian Unity is currently in an exciting era of sustainability engagement – rolling out smart metering and data platforms to assist environmental performance reporting and developing property specific NetZero transition plans for capital planning across its $3.7 billion property portfolio. 

Renders supplied by Hassell.

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