Supporting a Net Zero NHS

In 2020 the government’s Health Infrastructure Plan (HIP) pledged to build 40 new hospitals by 2030 as part of a package worth £3.7 billion. New standards were developed to help formalise the design of the new hospitals, making use of modular construction methods alongside traditional methods to help speed up the build.

The challenge to reduce the environmental impact of new build projects is real, not only in the construction impacts but also in terms of operational energy demands. The NHS has committed to a ‘Greener NHS’, aiming towards net zero, with many Trusts already publishing their net zero roadmaps supporting progress towards this target by 2050 or before.

The healthcare system in the UK is responsible for an estimated 5% of the country’s carbon footprint. In 2020 the NHS set out its intention to support the government’s net zero ambition through its ‘Delivering a Net Zero National Health Service report.

An Estate Fit for the Future

The NHS’s ‘Estates’ Net Zero Carbon Delivery Plan’ published in August 2021, introduced a 4-step approach to decarbonising the NHS estate, of which one of the steps is to increase on-site renewables. The plan also references actions to tackle climate change in other areas, such as the electrification of the NHS fleet.

Daniel Pillai, BiPVco Chairman, believes the investment into the NHS is an opportunity to deliver on their sustainability targets, “The HIP investment programme allows the NHS to create an estate fit for the clinical and patient needs of the future whilst aligning itself with the net zero carbon aspirations.

Our vision is to turn buildings into power stations to meet the energy trilemma. We believe solar is the best way to deliver affordable, secure and renewable energy, and we are ideally positioned to support the NHS in delivering its net zero objectives”.

BIPVco’s market-leading building integrated Flextron ‘thin ‘film’ PV solar module can be fitted to a variety of roofing panels. The thin film solar cells convert sunlight into energy through Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS) technology. These panels can blend seamlessly onto commercial and residential roofs due to the product’s robustness and flexibility. Aesthetically, they easily meet architects’ modern demands and designs, including curved rooftops, giving many advantages compared to more commonly understood (and widely seen) crystalline-based PV systems.

Daniel Pillai stated, “Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) is fast becoming the architect’s preferred approach for integrating solar PV into the building envelope. We understand the challenges from the architectural, construction contracting and thermo-mechanical viewpoints – this is a highly challenging sector for solar module manufacturers. We combine form and function by blending established construction products with cutting-edge solar solutions.”

As pressures continue over the need to produce more energy-efficient and sustainable buildings, using factory-fitted solar PV technology is a more reliable solution and has less room for error – especially during transportation and installation. This, in turn, positively impacts the patient experience that ongoing delays may otherwise affect.