Barwon Investment Partners (Barwon) is pleased to announce that phase one of the Somerset Specialist Centre in Penrith, NSW, has been completed. This development is part of Barwon’s Institutional Healthcare Property Fund (BIHPF) which was launched in 2016 and comprises 16 healthcare properties valued at over $750 million with capacity from undrawn funds to grow the portfolio to over $1 billion.

Situated within the Nepean Hospital health precinct, the Somerset Specialist Centre will provide new health facilities to service a growing Western Sydney region. The newly constructed four storey building includes a private hospital, an integrated cancer treatment centre, specialist medical imaging facilities and consulting suites.

Barwon is committed to reducing its carbon footprint in the investments made via the Barwon healthcare funds, BIHPF and Barwon Healthcare Property Fund (BHPF), and seeks to be at the forefront in clean energy initiatives in healthcare real estate assets in Australia. The healthcare property sector has traditionally been slow to adopt strategies to reduce their emissions and use clean energy technologies compared to other property sectors such as office and retail. Barwon has undertaken a comprehensive review of its healthcare assets and have identified opportunities to reduce emissions in the short term with a goal of working towards a net zero carbon position by 2030.

The emissions reduction strategy has been backed by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), through its investment in the BIHPF in 2019. The CEFC invests in clean energy and emissions reduction measures on behalf of the Australian Government to support Australia’s sustainable transition to a low emissions economy.

The Somerset Specialist Centre is an example of one of the initiatives aligned with Barwon’s ESG commitments. The building will not only meet the various social needs in the area but will also score highly on its emissions performance.

Barwon hopes the Somerset Specialist Centre will act as a benchmark in green healthcare development with the innovative technology utilised throughout the building optimising energy efficiency and reducing emissions.

Tom Patrick, Head of Healthcare Property at Barwon said, “As part of Barwon’s stated ESG goals, we have already made other significant commitments to a range of social initiatives, including committing to build the only dedicated adolescent mental health beds in Canberra as well as delivering facilities which will house new mental health services and cancer treatment services in areas of need in Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales. The investment from the CEFC has accelerated our environmental sustainability program, with initiatives such as the implementation of solar panels, smart metering and upgrades to existing building systems.  These strategies have the potential to remove between 1 million KgCo2 to 1.7 million KgCo2 of emissions from our portfolio each year, which is the equivalent to taking 371 passenger cars off the road for one year or powering 202 residential houses for a year.

According to the International Energy Agency, construction and operations of commercial buildings contribute up to 40% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Barwon, as a large commercial property landlord, is committed to make a positive contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the healthcare property sector. The advanced design of the Somerset Specialist Centre allows us to monitor the building’s energy usage and ultimately emissions. Through intelligent reporting we will be able to forecast energy usage and adapt systems accordingly to produce the lowest amount of emissions. The Somerset Specialist Centre is the model example, and we hope to roll out similar measures and innovation across the portfolio.”