Huge demand for healthcare buildings decarbonisation

Lucy Dixon
Head of Content

During elemental’s recent webinar series on decarbonising healthcare buildings, we had to end one of the sessions 10 minutes earlier than planned due to the opening of the application window for the latest wave of Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) funding.

When you consider the size of the decarbonisation challenge facing the public sector – including the NHS – it’s understandable why our audience (and speakers!) did not want to miss out on their chance to secure a share of the £635 million funding.

Luckily, we managed to pack a lot into our schedule of digital events, with plenty of practical advice from our expert panellists – including sustainability leaders at several NHS trusts – for those working to reduce energy bills and carbon throughout the healthcare estate.

The first session in our series addressed retrofit strategies for decarbonisation and Nick MacDonald-Smith, Principle Energy and Environment Programme Officer, NHS Property Services, outlined the scale of the challenge, saying:

We’ve got over 2,500 properties across England – and a diverse range of property types and ages – so understanding which technologies are in use across the estate is key to developing a programme off the back of that data.

Data only goes so far, you also need that element of local knowledge. The training and upskilling of our people on the ground is really important as well.

Fellow panellist Janet Smith, Head Of Sustainability at Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust and Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, talked through some of the work underway both in the wider NHS and in her own region (and we have a full interview with Janet going live next week), saying:

Last year the NHS released its Net Zero Estates Delivery Plan, which is quite specific on what we need to do to reach net zero by 2040. We’re one of the first NHS trusts to build our own solar farm, in partnership with the city. We’re using a big contaminated field where you couldn’t put anything else.

Heather Foster, Sector Lead – Healthcare, Veolia UK, highlighted the need for a holistic approach, saying:

Electrification is popular at the moment if you want a quick win to move away from burning fuels, but we don’t encourage things done in isolation, it’s more of a combination of solutions.

As expected, the PSDS received huge demand from healthcare projects, and Salix Finance published this message on the application portal: ‘Thank you to all the public sector bodies that have applied for PSDS Phase 3b funding. There has been very high demand for the scheme since the Application Portal opened on Wednesday 12 October. Applications have been received from the health sector to a value significantly higher than the health sector soft cap. It is unlikely that any further applications from this sector will receive PSDS Phase 3b funding.”

To watch all three sessions on demand, visit our Crowdcast channel, and do get in touch if there are topics you’d like to see us cover.

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