Seeing Green at the New Royal Adelaide Hospital

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-By Jaime McKee

The earthmoving has begun and a live webcam has been installed – construction on the new Royal Adelaide Hospital is underway.

Slated for completion in 2016, the new Royal Adelaide Hospital will be delivered as a Public Private Partnership (PPP), and will provide world-class health care facilities for South Australians. The new hospital will be centrally located on North Terrace in the heart of the CBD, and will replace the existing Royal Adelaide Hospital which opened in 1840.

Under the South Australian Government’s Partnership SA model, the SA Health Partnership consortium includes Leighton Contractors, Macquarie Capital Group, Hansen Yuncken and Spotless, who collectively will undertake the financing, design, construction and facility management services to the hospital over 35 years, while SA Health operates the hospital and provides its core clinical services.

World Class Care

Expected to see over 80,000 admissions per year, the new hospital will be the State’s largest, with 800 beds, and 100 per cent private rooms. It will remain a major teaching hospital and will share space with the new South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, making the health precinct “the hub of medical research in the State,” according to SA Health’s website.

“All services currently provided at the Royal Adelaide Hospital will transfer to the new facility when it opens in 2016,” reads the SA Health site. With increased capacity and staff, the new facility will offer more operating theatres, a greater number of intensive care beds, and increased emergency care capability. Available services will include adult medical and surgical services, critical emergency care, mental health services, outpatient care, and diagnostic services, as well as critical state-wide services including major burn treatment, trauma care, spinal care, renal transplantation, neurosurgery, complex vascular care, hyperbaric medicine, and craniofacial surgery.

The hospital has been thoughtfully designed with sustainability and flexibility in mind, and will be able to evolve and adapt to the changing needs of the South Australian population. Flexible spaces can be adapted as medical technology and patient needs change, and there is additional room on the site to accommodate future expansion. Architecturally designed to be a “healing environment for patients and a positive working environment for staff,” rooms will feature an abundance of natural light and access to balcony and rooftop gardens. An onsite retail precinct will be available for use by patients, visitors, and staff, and will feature a corner store, restaurant, cafés, bank, and post office. Additional facilities, such as a gymnasium and crèche, will also be available thanks to the PPP delivery structure.

The new hospital design is also being hailed for its unique incorporation of both art and green space. With plans to incorporate artwork into the design, both on display in patient and general areas and built into hospital signage, the hospital aims to “create a welcoming, attractive environment enhancing the patient, staff and visitor journey, and contributing to the revitalisation of Adelaide’s West End.” The new facility will be uniquely situated, reads the SA Health website, “to position South Australia as a leader in the integration of art in capital works projects.”

Keeping it Green

The new hospital is also slated to be one of the greenest projects in South Australia. “The planning and construction… has been guided by stringent environment standards and will embrace environmentally sustainable practices to minimise carbon footprint,” reads the SA Health site. In particular, the structure will focus on three key areas of environmental sustainability: water conservation, energy efficiency, and indoor environment quality.

Hospitals must by their nature use an abundance of potable water, but the new Royal Adelaide Hospital plans to offset its usage as much as possible. The facility will utilise rainwater and stormwater harvesting for activities such as toilet flushing; it will feature high efficiency water fittings throughout; it will perform extensive water metering and reporting to identify and manage consumption; it will incorporate water-sensitive landscaping; and it will include a water-efficient thermal plant.

To be as energy efficient as possible, the new hospital will feature a tri-generation system, with absorption chillers, which “will utilise waste heat from energy generators to provide heating and cooling to the building.” The entire structure’s orientation will also be optimised to minimise solar thermal loads, and natural daylight will flood the building to reduce demand for artificial lighting and its associated electricity use. Energy use, will, like the water’s, be extensively monitored and reported to identify and manage consumption. Taken together, these measures should allow the new hospital to boast a “reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to equivalent hospitals, reads the SA Health site.

Not to be ignored, of course, is the health and sustainability of the indoor environment – perhaps more important in a hospital setting than any other. The new facility design aims to make patient stays and the staff working experience as pleasant as possible, and to this end, includes high levels of natural daylight penetration and stunning views of the outdoors. The site will also incorporate clever acoustic design to minimise patient disturbance, and will offer designated areas of respite for patients and staff. Interior materials, such as paints and carpeting, will be of environmentally friendly finishes (low or zero Volatile Organic Compounds, natural materials, etc.) – particularly nice to see as “sick building syndrome” is certainly the last thing one wants to introduce to a healing setting. Finally, natural green spaces and plantings will be abundant throughout, with sky gardens providing private, naturally ventilated balconies for winter sun, and rooftop gardens for all to enjoy.

With leading edge health services, the highest standards of patient care, and built-in ecologically sensitive initiatives, the new Royal Adelaide Hospital promises to be a true world-class clinical facility. Visit: for more information on the project. Oh, and that webcam? Check out to follow the construction progress live.

Home Automation

Call it ‘domotics,’ and you are likely to receive a blank stare, but refer to it as ‘smart home’ or ‘home automation,’ and you will get a nod of acknowledgement. For the past few years, consumers have heard the word ‘smart’ attached to countless products and services, from food and drink to snacks like popcorn and mobile phones, which no one seems to refer to as a ‘cellphone’ anymore. Yet what, exactly, constitutes ‘smart’?

July 27, 2021, 2:49 PM AEST