Hospital estates strategy and the climate emergency

The UK construction sector is set to make Whole Life Carbon calculations integral to design decisions. Senior personnel from architectural practice, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, discuss the considerations faced by an NHS Trust.

The UK construction sector is gearing up to make Whole Life Carbon (WLC) calculations integral to design decisions and standard reporting, to help meet the UK, and the NHS’s emission reduction targets. Tim den Dekker, Joe Jack Williams, and Ian Taylor from Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios discuss the outputs from a study of a 35-year-old typical NHS hospital building to review the range of considerations faced by an NHS Trust and its Estates department in the context of WLC and cost.

The strategic direction set out in Delivering a ‘Net Zero’ National Health Service1 requires hospital Trusts to decide how to reduce carbon emissions. A quick calculation using the figures in this document suggests that operational and embodied carbon relating to buildings makes up approximately 1% of the UK’s carbon footprint. NHS Trust Estates teams therefore have an important role in reducing UK emissions. A high proportion of NHS building stock is old and dilapidated. Shedding light on important estate management decisions that NHS Trusts need to make to save carbon and meet changing demand patterns and clinical standards, our study found that the bulk of the emissions reductions to meet UK and NHS targets will need to come from savings in future embodied carbon. This finding is consistent with the UKGBC Net Zero Whole Life Carbon Roadmap’s call for the mandatory embodied carbon limits, which could be delivered by Part Z,2 a ready-made proposed amendment to the Building Regulations.

Measuring return on invested capital

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