Mater is working to reduce its environmental footprint by embedding renewable energy into its power contracts at its hospital campuses, including in Bundaberg.
The purchase of 15 gigawatt hours of clean energy is estimated to prevent 12 000 tonnes of carbon emissions from being released in Queensland.
The cuts, certified by the Clean Energy Regulator, will apply to Mater’s hospitals in Bundaberg, Mackay, Redland, Rockhampton, South Brisbane, Springfield, and Townsville.
Mater Environmental Sustainability Project Officer Ngaire McGaw said Mater would continue to purchase 20 per cent renewable energy for the next two years under a contract with CS Energy.
Ms McGaw said the initiative was the most outstanding environmental sustainability achievement she had witnessed in her 20-year career.
“We aim to achieve 50 per cent renewable energy by 2025,” Ms McGaw said.
“This initiative sets us on our way and enables Mater to reduce its environmental footprint far more than we would achieve through solar panels or waste reduction.”
Ms McGaw said the hospitals had high electricity demands and the contract with CS Energy provided an innovative solution to cutting emissions without impacting service delivery.
“There is often a lot of focus on the improvements being made through installing solar panels at hospitals, but this typically reduces the overall environmental footprint by just one or two per cent at hospitals,” she said.
“What has been achieved across Mater with this initiative is a carbon reduction of 16 percentage points at its major sites, which is a significant result compared to our peers.”
Mater Chief Executive Officer, Dr Peter Steer, said environmental sustainability played an important role in the health of the community.
“Increasing impacts on the environment pose public health risks such as weather events like heatwaves and bushfires, and disease burdens including those from zoonotic diseases as we have seen with the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
“Some of the patients most at risk from climate-related incidents are the most vulnerable in our community, including babies and the elderly.
“Investing in reducing our environmental footprint is an investment in the health of our patients and community.”