The Victorian government has announced it will spend $26 million on upgrading energy efficiency and installing solar on hospitals and healthcare facilities, which it expects will save $70 million on bills over the investment lifetime, and cut carbon emissions by 20,000 tonnes a year.
The funding is coming through the Greener Government Buildings (GGB) program, which was reinstated last year after being cut by the former Coalition government in 2014. The program allows government departments to borrow money for energy saving projects, provided there is a payback within five years.
When the program was cut, it was hospitals singled out as the biggest losers by the energy efficiency sector.
Now the first tranche of investment into hospitals have been announced, with $7 million to Peninsula Health, which operates Frankston Hospital; $3.9 million for nine hospitals and regional health services in Gippsland; and $5 million for Northern Health for projects at Northern Hospital and other regional health services.
The government said it would also work to identify other hospitals and healthcare facilities to determine which ones could benefit most from solar and energy efficiency. Those identified would then become eligible to access the GGB program, as well as having the opportunity to bulk buy solar panels through Health Purchasing Victoria.
“We’re making the investments our hospitals need to keep pace with increasing demand – so they can focus on what they do best, which is saving lives and caring for Victorians,” health minister Jill Hennessy said.
Finance minister Robin Scott said the program was part of the government’s commitment to tackling climate change and driving down health costs.
“The Greener Government Buildings program is a win/win – it reduces greenhouse gas emissions, creates jobs and saves Victorians money.”