Making Existing Healthcare Buildings Sustainable

SHINE Sustainable Healthcare: Refurbishing existing buildings

Jason Palmer led this research project by CIRIA, the Sustainable Development Foundation, and Forum for the Future, for the National Institute for Healthcare Research. We wrote and analysed six detailed case studies of existing buildings that had been improved to address sustainable development. We drew out policy recommendations to help ensure that future healthcare buildings achieve more than the current crop in terms of sustainability.

As well as suggesting the optimum order for carrying out energy upgrades of older healthcare buildings, we made six recommendations:

  • Recommendation 1: All NHS Trusts, PCTs and Mental Health Trusts should prepare a sustainability improvement plan for their estate, or at least a Decarbonisation Plan, irrespective of their size.
  • Recommendation 2: All NHS Trusts, PCTs and Mental Health Trusts should collect energy consumption data for their estate, ideally broken down at least into heating, building-related electricity, and medical equipment – and use this to quantify their baseline carbon emissions.
  • Recommendation 3: Leadership programmes should be developed to encourage, train and support Trust Board Members, Non-Executive Directors and/or other senior staff to take a leadership role in improving the sustainability of their estate and drawing up a Decarbonisation Plan outlining planned measures, costs and a timeline.
  • Recommendation 4: Energy efficiency/ carbon reduction measures should be incorporated into existing Building Regulations and properly enforced by Building Control – currently there is evidence of inadequate enforcement.
  • Recommendation 5: Information and guidance should be developed to provide senior Trust personnel with introductory briefings and details of the costs and benefits of improving the energy efficiency/decarbonisation and sustainability performance of their estate.
  • Recommendation 6: Authoritative guidance should be developed to provide all Trusts with a framework or guidelines for identifying and prioritizing the energy efficiency/carbon reduction improvements they could make to their estate, and this should be tailored to the healthcare sector.