The Department of Health and Human Services environmentally sustainable building initiatives focus on:

  • passive energy design and use
  • improved indoor environments to promote people’s wellbeing
  • use of environmentally safe building materials
  • use of renewable energy sources
  • rainwater harvesting
  • solar domestic hot water.

There are five key areas to think about in ESD:

  • priorities for project design
  • performance targets, for example indoor air quality
  • energy usage, savings and greenhouse emissions
  • water and waste consumption and transportation
  • ESD capital and recurrent asset operating costs.

Projects need to be scoped. Scoping should include building design, systems and materials, and engineering infrastructure. Materials should be long-lasting and low maintenance, of sound engineering and design principles.

Elements of environmentally sustainable design

Building orientation

  • passive and integrated ESD principles, elements, materials selection and building services, including maximising access to fresh air, sunshine and natural daylight
  • optimising thermal building mass, including optimal glazing according to floor to wall ratios, insulation, building fabric and systems, building orientation and facade controls where appropriate
  • access to natural light and improved indoor air quality to improve wellbeing
  • active heating and cooling through structural design.

Performance benchmarks

  • energy performance benchmarks for intended use of building
  • recurrent operating costs for energy and building services
  • total impact of energy saving strategies when evaluating options: think about light sensors combined with mechanical systems to minimise unnecessary air conditioning of unoccupied spaces.
  • Indoor air quality and materials selection
  • use of building services and materials with significant recycled and/or recyclable parts
  • indoor environmental quality requirements for materials and products with low volatile organic compound composition.

Water management

  • water re-use, and reducing potable water consumption
  • water sensitive design principles to improve-site rainwater retention for landscape irrigation.

Innovation, technology and building management

  • new or ground-breaking renewable energy technology such as chilled beams, solar chimneys, integrated geothermal energy and high efficiency closed-loop chiller systems, and links to weather forecasting equipment
  • design for operational waste management
  • applying ESD elements and building systems to clinical, non-clinical, administrative and other general or specific use areas
  • consideration in projects at existing facilities of other plant, building services, major infrastructure, site layout and related factors to reduce overall environmental site impactways to manage, monitor and report on energy/environmental performance
  • air-conditioning systems assessed regarding system type, with design and sizing reviewed against building orientation, thermal mass, glazing, area use functionality, electrical and mechanical efficiency and recurrent operating costs
  • cooling systems that favour or improve passive design with minimal mechanical energy loads and recurrent operating costs
  • recurrent operating costs for cooling based on keeping an internal ambient temperature of 23–24 degrees.