The roadmap to a carbon neutral hospital: part 1.


Jon Nuttall, Associate Director

Prepping for a Net Zero NHS estate.

This insight has been adapted from a piece originally written for the Journal of the Health Estates Journal and was co-authored by Anu Sabherwal from NBBJ.

The UK has an ambitious target to reduce carbon emissions by 100% ahead of 2050 and, like many organisations, the NHS also has its own.

Across the country, new hospitals are being commissioned by the government’s Health infrastructure plan. This means that design teams and clients are needing to create low-energy facilities that are ‘Net Zero Ready’.

The size conundrum.

Due to a hospital’s size, they are among the most energy intensive buildings in the built environment…

The technical complexity, 24-hour operations and the medical equipment needed to diagnose and treat patients back to health only adds to the carbon intensity of a healthcare estate.

Other impacts, such as waste management and water efficiency, must also be considered to address the overarching environmental sustainability targets. It’s vital solutions support the principles of resource efficiency, circular economy, reducing environmental impact and climate resilience.

So how can we reach this ambitious target?

By reducing emissions, we are in-turn reducing carbon in the atmosphere.

Research has shown that for every 1% reduction in energy consumption, the NHS could save £4 million every year.

The NHS’s 2050 Net Zero goal can be achieved by better building design that supports the rhythms of nature, the health and wellbeing of patients, staff and visitors – all while saving energy and costs with no discernible negative impact on human comfort conditions.

A key component.

Our integrated sustainable design approach is made up of a variety of components, with Net Zero hospital design being a key ingredient. In this approach there are many common overlapping themes with such as BREEAM, WELL standards, DfMA and MMC targets.

Our approach.

Energy efficiency and energy reduction is key as low energy consumption leads to low carbon emissions.

Net Zero Carbon targets mean moving from a “design for compliance” approach towards a “design for performance” approach.

6 steps.

The 6-step Roadmap to a Net Zero Carbon hospital looks at the early design stages, carried through to construction and operational stages.

Look out for part 2 of this insight, where we’ll speak in more detail about our approach, and the importance of each aspect.