Paul Marsden, Public Health Technical Specification manager at Baxi, and Chair of the Society of Public Health Engineers (SoPHE) Industry Working Group, discusses the challenges and opportunities for NHS Estates and Facilities managers surrounding the decarbonisation of domestic hot water. He argues that the high hot water demand frequently associated with healthcare premises makes it a clear focus for reduction in associated energy use and emissions.
One of the largest health systems in the world, with a vast estate, including hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities, the NHS is a significant energy consumer, estimated to account for 4-5% of the UK’s total carbon footprint.1 The impacts of climate change represent one of the biggest public health challenges of this century, requiring health services to adapt to respond to new and increased health risks. As part of its commitment to tackling climate change, the NHS has set ambitious targets for reaching Net Zero from its directly controlled emissions by 2040, and the emissions it can influence by 2045. In so doing, it aims to become the world’s first Net Zero national health service. Reducing carbon emissions from hot water generation is one of the areas identified for achieving this target
The high hot water demand frequently associated with healthcare premises makes it a clear focus for reduction in associated energy use and emissions. However, it is one that comes with certain challenges – from the scale of the estate, to the huge variety of building types and hot water systems, to the specific considerations relating to domestic hot water (DHW) provision in these hygiene-critical environments.
In this article, we will discuss the particular requirements for hot water in hospitals and healthcare buildings, the challenges for estates and facilities managers in delivering reliable, sanitary hot water with reduced emissions, and the opportunities for improving the energy efficiency of hot water systems across the NHS estate to drive down its carbon footprint.
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