Helping the NHS to be the first net zero national health service

Back view of emergency ambulance car in a blurred street

Credit: Thankful Photography / Getty Images

Researchers from the UKRI-funded CREDS, are building a solid evidence base and robust future plans to help the NHS achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.

The Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS), supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council, is providing:

  • energy modelling
  • policy advice
  • support on organisational change.

Researchers at the centre have been working with the Lancet Countdown team to peer-review the NHS’ current method of counting its greenhouse gas emissions, supporting a bottom up analysis of carbon emissions and mitigation measures.

The researchers, based at the UCL Energy Institute, worked with NHS operational and analytical teams to focus on:

  • estates and facilities
  • transport
  • the co-benefits arising from mitigation interventions.

Professor Paul Ruyssevelt, who provided support for estates and facilities team, explains:

We were able to federate data from the NHS Estate Return Information Collection (ERIC), the UK government’s Building Energy Efficiency Survey (BEES) and our own 3DStock data platform to provide projections of future energy use and carbon emissions. The cost-benefit analysis shows that overall the programme would have a net positive financial return, as well as many other benefits towards improved internal environments for staff and patients.

Looking forward, he suggests:

The development of a foundation digital twin based on 3DStock for the NHS estate has already enabled the automatic assessment of the potential for new technologies. In the future it could support the prioritisation of interventions and provide the means of monitoring and reporting on performance against the net zero target.

Read more about delivering a net zero NHS.

Last updated: 26 April 2021

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