Wye Valley NHS Trust is reducing its carbon footprint through the installation of ground source heat pumps, saving a predicted 3,715 tonnes of carbon a year from entering the atmosphere. This is equivalent to driving an average family car 70 times around the world.
The news comes ahead of Clean Air Day on June 15. Every year, air pollution causes up to 36,000 deaths in the UK and is one of the largest environmental health risks.
Coordinated by Global Action Plan, Clean Air Day helps to improve people’s understanding of air pollution, both indoors and outdoors, and demonstrate how it can impact on people’s health.
Last year, the Trust installed a new ground source heat pump, which means that two of the buildings on Hereford’s County Hospital site are now being kept warm without the use of fossil fuels.
This is part of the first phase to reduce carbon emissions at the Trust. The Trust plans to convert the whole of the hospital site into a fossil fuel-free zone following a successful bid for £21 million of government funding.
This will allow for more ground source heat pumps to be installed and is expected to reduce the amount of carbon produced to heat the hospital by around 97 per cent.
The pumps work by extracting heat from the ground and passing it through machinery to warm the water which then circulates in the heating system.
As part of the project, a layer of solar panels has been installed on the main hospital building’s roof and lights have also been converted to LED lights.
Alan Dawson, Wye Valley NHS Trust’s Chief Strategy and Planning Officer, said: “The ground source heat pump, as well as the newly-installed solar array and around 3,000 LED lights, means the Trust is generating some of its own heating and electricity and greatly reducing its carbon footprint.
“We are now fossil fuel-free in two of our buildings and have reduced our carbon footprint by over 500 tonnes a year – equivalent to 15 per cent. This is also saving us around £70,000 a year in fuel bills. This is great news for our patients and the communities we serve in Herefordshire.
“I look forward to extending the fossil fuel-free programme across the whole of the hospital site and realising our 97 per cent annual carbon saving.”
Climate change poses a major threat to people’s health and the planet. Discover how the NHS is becoming greener, find out how to take action to help clean up the air and how to help the NHS to become the world’s first health service to reach carbon net zero.