Merit

Building Innovation is Crucial to Carbon Neutral Hospital Design

The NHS in England has set up an expert panel to chart a route map to ‘net zero carbon’ as part of its ‘For a Greener NHS’ campaign. It will examine the changes that the NHS can make in its own activities, the supply chain and wider partnerships.

Alongside this, a proposed new NHS Standard contract will call on hospitals to reduce carbon from buildings and estates. The NHS in England accounts for 4-5% of the country’s carbon footprint. Within that, buildings and energy contribute around 25%.

The initiative creates an opportunity to incorporate innovative new zero-carbon construction technology into hospital design that could dramatically reduce carbon emissions.

Some healthcare sector leaders have raised concerns that Health Building Notes (HBN) and Health Technical Memoranda (HTM), which set standards of best practice, are out of date and slowing the process of innovation.

The current review of these standards needs to incorporate a process that allows innovation beyond the restrictions of the guidelines and the opportunity for engineers to challenge established practice with new thinking.

Freedom to innovate with modern methods of manufacture, offsite and digital building technology is crucial to achieving our net zero design and build for the NHS.