The NHS's Journey to Net-Zero

Health services across the UK have committed to achieving net-zero by 2045 – the first in the world to commit to this timeframe.

Currently, our health systems are substantial sources of greenhouse gasses, accounting for nearly 5% of global emissions. If we classed all health systems globally as one country, they would be the 5th largest emitter.

England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have each already began their journey to net-zero and have developed ambitious plans to beat the government’s target of being net-zero by 2050.

The UK government is investing over £280 million in decarbonising the NHS estate in England through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, with a further £1.425 billion in funding confirmed for the whole public sector across this Spending Review period.

The commitments have been made as part of the UK’s COP26 Presidency alongside healthcare systems across the world and in partnership with the World Health Organisation, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Healthcare Without Harm and others.

For the NHS, over £330million will be invested in climate-smart healthcare and low-carbon emission hospitals in an attempt to improve energy efficiency, cut carbon emissions and tackle climate change.

A new net-zero healthcare building standard will also be published and be applied to the government’s existing commitment to build 48 new hospitals before 2030.

One way in which the NHS can look to reduce their carbon emissions effectively is through the use of smart, IoT technology.

Throughout the pandemic, Invisible Systems have been supporting the NHS through the remote monitoring of vaccine fridge and freezer temperatures.

By ensuring vaccines are stored correctly, the quantity of waste has been reduced as has the energy used to dispose of ineffective vaccine stock. The requirement for additional, replacement vaccines was diminished, as to was the need to transport stock, significantly reducing overall carbon emissions.

We’re working with NHS trusts to monitor the energy usage across sites, building data patterns on the energy efficiency of individual buildings and wards.

By having a clear, documented understanding of overall energy usage, plans for new hospitals can be adjusted to improve energy efficiency.

Short-term action can also be taken to encourage behavioural change for those working within the sites properties. By demonstrating and displaying the impact of their day-to-day actions on the environment, NHS leaders can encourage their teams to reconsider next time they think about leaving the doors open, lights on and plug-in heaters working.

If you’re working to decarbonise your NHS site or would like advice on how you can reduce the carbon footprint of your organisation, book a meeting with a member of our team.

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