Department of Health

Energy use in Victorian public healthcare services

Key messages

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

Aggregated stationary energy

In 2019-20, Victorian public health services consumed 4,853 terajoules (TJ) of stationary energy. 89 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 2019-20

By energy type

Value (terajoules)



Natural gas


Co-generation steam


LPG (Liquid petroleum gas)






In 2019-20, the reported stationary energy generated approximately 0.74 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

Figure E1 shows the changes in energy consumption from 2005-06 to 2019-20 for the main energy types used in Victorian hospitals.

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

Over the period, electricity and natural gas consumption increased by about 35 and 12 per cent respectively. Steam consumption from co-generation and liquid petroleum gas consumption decreased by about 30 and 51 per cent respectively.

Portfolio energy consumption

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 2019-20 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.

Portfolio benchmark performance energy

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

From 2005-06 to 2019-20, separations increased by about 56 per cent per year, and occupied bed-days by about 21 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 results in an increase use of energy. As the use of medical technologies grow extensively and hospital departments are occupied for longer hours so does the use of lighting, heating, cooling and ventilation.

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

Occupied bed-days (also known as in-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 2019-20 the floor area of Victorian public hospitals that energy data is collected for increased by 51 per cent. This is in part due to the opening of new hospitals and the implementation of the new online environmental data management system, which increased the number of facilities the department includes in its public environment report.

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 carparking. Multi-storey car parking is included where data is available.

Reviewed 10 November 2023


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