'It's not really about insulation', Homerton hospital's plan to reach net-zero carbon

Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust has laid out how it plans to reach net-zero carbon - Credit: Fin Fahey

Despite fierce messaging from climate activists, improving insulation may not be the best step to reducing the NHS’s emissions, according to a Homerton Hospital advisor.

“It’s not really about insulation,” said Liam Triggs at the Health in Hackney Scrutiny Commission meeting last night.

He outlined the Trust’s plans to reach net-zero carbon and insulation improvements were not on the list.

Insulate Britain calls for the double-glazing of windows, which is not being implemented by the Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust (HUHFT). The HUHFT has 75 sites throughout the borough and the City.

Instead, the Trust has upgraded glazing on windows by adding a solar film which helps to reduce the heat gained through windows. This decreases the need to cool buildings and consequently reduces energy consumption.

The Trust has seen a 40 per cent reduction in heat gain in locations where glazing has been upgraded with solar film, said Liam.

Liam, who is leaving the HUHFT this week after more than nine years in his role, said it’s the “hard equipment” like chillers and air handling units that need to change.

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Updating such equipment is costly, but Liam said there is funding available through the public decarbonisation scheme, which provides grants for public bodies to fund heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency measures.

The Trust has taken different measures to move away from fossil fuels. “All of [the Trust’s] electricity is now from renewable energy sources”, said Liam.

HUHFT’s electricity now comes exclusively from wind, solar, and hydro power.

Meanwhile, a goal to update all lighting to LED is 75pc complete in acute sites.

These sites handle acute care, when patients receive active but short-term treatment for illness or injury. Efforts are ongoing at non-acute sites throughout Hackney.

The hospital, in partnership with ERS Medical which runs the Patient Transport Service, also launched its first electric ambulance this month to complement the Ultra Low Emission Zone extension last month.

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