Reduced emissions, cost savings, and better health and wellbeing. Improving energy efficiency in hospitals delivers value for the NHS and the communities it serves – in more ways than one.
That’s why the £635 million Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which opened this month, is welcome news. You can find out more on the gov.uk website.
This funding scheme supports public sector organisations, including NHS hospitals, to invest in low-carbon heating and energy innovations like heat pumps, LED lighting, building fabric improvements, and renewable energy sources. The goal is simple: to help achieve the UK’s carbon reduction targets, while reducing energy costs and supporting energy resilience.
Healthcare buildings contribute 15% of the total NHS carbon footprint, which means that reducing emissions in this area is essential if the health service is to reach its world-first net zero goal.
Previous investment in public sector decarbonisation earlier this year is expected to save the taxpayer a total of £650 million per year. This round of funding saw more than 30 NHS healthcare facilities secure a total of £329 million for energy-efficient innovations and heat decarbonisation. In addition to the long-term cost savings, the NHS is estimated to save 1 million tonnes of carbon as a result of these recent investments; that’s the same as 1.6 million return flights from London to New York.
For healthcare, there is a clear, added win for patients and staff alike. Energy efficiency innovations, such as LED lighting, can create more comfortable and controllable healthcare environments. And reductions in emissions will help to mitigate the health harms of climate change; air pollution alone contributes to 1 in 20 deaths in the UK – and increases in cases of cancer, heart disease and asthma.
Beyond energy efficiency measures, NHS trusts are diversifying energy sources. At Castle Hill hospital in Hull, a new solar-powered “field of dreams” will provide all the power needed for the hospital in the summer months, while saving £300k off its energy bills. Solar panels in place in Milton Keynes Hospitals have saved £225k already. Torbay hospital was recently given the green light to develop a solar park. In Wolverhampton, they are moving ahead with renewable energy plans.
At a time when health, climate change, and energy costs, are all front of mind, investments that deliver value in more ways than one are much needed and much welcomed. It’s great to see NHS trusts around the country invest in decarbonisation and energy efficiency – for the benefit of health now and for future generations.
To find out more about this latest funding scheme, please get in touch with the Greener NHS or you can find out more on the gov.uk website. To find out how we are building a greener NHS together, please visit our Greener NHS website and sign up to our Greener NHS e-bulletin.