Key messages

  • Hospitals due to the nature of services provided are energy intensive.
  • Energy use is tracked in Victorian public health services.

In 2015-16 the department invested in a new online environmental data management system. The system has increased the number of facilities the department collects energy for, so data for prior years is not directly comparable. 

Aggregated stationary energy

In 2016-17, Victorian public health services consumed 5,246 terajoules (TJ) of stationary energy. 88 per cent of this was related to electricity and natural gas.

The break-up of stationary energy consumption by energy type is provided in the table below. 

Aggregated stationary energy data for Victorian public health services 2016-17

By energy type

Value (terajoules)



Natural gas


Co-generation steam


LPG (Liquid petroleum gas)






In 2016-17, Victorian public health services generated approximately 0.81 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from stationary energy. This is about 10 times the carbon footprint from the stationary energy used by all Victorian Government offices.

Trends in energy consumption

Figure E1 shows the changes in energy consumption from 2005-06 to 2016-17 for the main energy types used in Victorian hospitals.

Over the period, electricity and natural gas consumption increased by about 46 and 21 per cent respectively. Steam consumption from co-generation and liquid petroleum gas consumption decreased by 26 and 48 per cent respectively. 

Energy figure E1 Bar Graph 

Figure E1: Victorian public hospitals energy consumption in terajoules (TJ) by energy type  

Changes in energy consumption

Figure E2 shows the change in energy consumption from 2005-06 to 2016-17 relative to factors that influence changes in energy consumption: floor area to account for growth in the portfolio’s size, and separations and occupied bed-days to account for growth in activity.

Energy figure E2 Line Graph

Figure E2: Change in Victorian public hospitals energy use relative to floor area and activity 

From 2005-06 to 2016-17, separations increased by about 53 per cent per year, and occupied bed-days by about 21.5 per cent per year.

The cumulative change trends represented in the graph suggests that energy is being used more efficiently in hospitals, as growth in energy usage is less than growth in activity and floor area.

Factors that influence hospital energy consumption 

Increased hospital activity

Increasing hospital activity increases demand for energy as medical technology is used more extensively and hospital departments are occupied for longer hours resulting in more lighting, heating, cooling and ventilation.

Bed-days and separations are used as measures of hospital activity.

Occupied bed-days (also known as patient days) is a calculation of the number of days or part days for all patients who were admitted for an episode of care and who underwent separation. Bed-days, in this instance, exclude residential aged care bed-days.

A separation is defined as ‘the formal process by which a hospital records the completion of an episode of treatment and/or care for an admitted patient’.

Increasing floor area

From 2005-06 to 2016-17 the floor area of Victorian public hospitals that energy data is collected for increased by 54 per cent. This is in part due to the implementation of the new online environmental data management system, which has increased the number of facilities the department includes in its public environment report.

In 2016–17 a number of capital works were completed, including three significant greenfield hospitals: the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, the New Bendigo Hospital Stage 1 and the Monash Children’s Hospital. Energy data for these sites are included for the first time and have contributed to increased energy use.

Increase in floor area results in increased demand for energy from air-conditioning, heating, ventilation and lighting. Floor area figures represent gross floor area and excludes at-grade car parking. Multi-storey car parking is included where data is available.