Carbon reduction in the NHS: News in brief


Read on for our round-up of the measures NHS trusts across the UK are taking to reduce their carbon footprint in line with tough government targets, and the opportunities available to boost NHS sustainability

Firm wins sustainability recognition

A HAND hygiene specialist has received a European award highlighting its sustainable approach to product development. GOJO’s Mild Foam Hand Wash Fragrance Free is the first product from the company’s portfolio to display the European Ecolabel flower icon. To gain recognition the product was assessed against comparative soaps and has now become one of the few to be awarded an Ecolabel licence by the UK Competent Body. The licence is the official environmental label in the UK and EU and is supported and administered by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Suzanne De Maine, spokeswoman for GOJO Industries Europe, said: “Gaining the European Ecolabel Flower is an important milestone for our sustainability journey and helps to demonstrate our ongoing investment, dedication and commitment to global environmental matters. We hope the icon, along with our own sustainable stamp, will help customers make informed choices to develop their own environmental credentials.”  Debbie McSherry, from the UK Ecolabel Competent Body, added: “Rigorous Ecolabel criteria are not based on one single factor, but on studies that analyse the impact of the product or service on the environment throughout its life-cycle, starting from raw material extraction in the pre-production stage, through to production, distribution and disposal.”

Trust deploys Powerstar to cut energy use

Carbon reduction in the NHS: News in brief

MERSEY Care NHS Trust has installed Powerstar in a bid to reduce energy usage and cut its carbon footprint. The voltage optimisation and energy-saving solutions from EMSc Powerstar have been deployed at a number of facilities run by the trust, including Ashworth, Mossley and Rathbone hospitals and the Scott Clinic. At Rathbone this has led to an average 18% saving on annual energy consumption, the equivalent of £6,974, while the Scott Clinic has saved around £5,446 a year. Mark O’Grady, managing director of MITIE Engineering Maintenance, the facility management company used by Mersey Care NHS trust for the Powerstar installations, said: “As the UK faces worsening power quality issues with harmonic, transient, power factor and phase balancing issues, voltage optimising is emerging as one of the most secure technologies for NHS sites to adopt as part of their sustainability strategies.” Terry Shemwell, Powerstar consultant to local authorities and the NHS, added: “The NHS has highlighted its commitment to cutting carbon emissions and meeting the Government’s targets of cutting emissions by 80% by 2050. Solutions such as Powerstar are allowing trusts to not only achieve these targets but plough back money saved into improved patient care and services.”

London trust leads the way

We have achieved these targets by improving heating controls and increasing lighting and heating efficiency

THE North West London Hospitals NHS Trust has become one of only 20 trusts in the UK to be awarded the Carbon Trust Standard. It received the award for managing and reducing its carbon footprint by nearly 4%. Chief executive, Fiona Wise, said: “It is a great way of showing that we are on the front foot when it comes to carbon management best practices. We have achieved these targets by improving heating controls and increasing lighting and heating efficiency. This initial reduction is part of an ongoing plan and we are committed to making further reductions in the future.” Harry Morrison, general manager of the Carbon Trust Standard, added: “Being certified is proof that an organisation has taken genuine action to reduce its impact on climate change.”

Silver service at Lincolnshire and Goole

A SILVER Level Award has been achieved by Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for driving down its transport carbon footprint. In total, the organisation has reduced its footprint by 14.4% and was just 0.6% off achieving the Gold Award. Figures compiled by the Energy Saving Trust, as part of its Motorvate scheme, show the trust was generating in the region of 855,852kg of carbon in 2005/06, but by 2009/10 the footprint total had been reduced to 673,393kg. Jug Johal, trust head of transport, car parking and security, said: “Transport is continually coming to all three of our hospital sites and it is important, that as part of the local communities we serve, we look to drive down our carbon footprint for the long-term benefit of the environment.” Initiatives already rolled out include a shuttle bus service for staff, a lease car policy, the introduction of small-engined pool cars, a park-and-ride scheme, and a cycle scheme.

Scottish board wins carbon standard

NHS Lothian has been awarded the Carbon Trust Standard after cutting CO2 emissions by 5% over the past two years. In total, the trust has reduced energy emissions by 5.3% and is only the second health board in Scotland to achieve the standard. Energy-saving initiatives already underway include the use of recycled rainwater in the laundry system at St John’s Hospital and the installation of solar panels to preheat domestic hot water in the new integrated Chalmers Sexual Health Centre, which is due to open later this year. Moving to more energy-efficient accommodation at Waverley Gate has also helped the trust to drive down energy bills, and a plan to reduce the number of office facilities from 13 to three will further reduce costs. Other measures have included automatic heating and ventilation controls, high-efficiency boilers and heat exchanger systems and the insulation of plant systems. Charlie Halpin, energy and environment manager at NHS Lothian, said: “Becoming more energy efficient is a key priority for the organisation in order to drive down our costs, and to further reduce our carbon footprint. The success of these investments, along with other housekeeping initiatives, has been a key element in achieving a major reduction in our energy consumption.”

Sign up for your free email newsletter

ALSO IN THE NEWS: One of Germany’s leading solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturers has launched into the UK market. Solarwatt hopes to increase sales off the back of the introduction of a feed-in tariff by the UK government last April…