22 July 2016 | Martin Read
A group assessing the financial return of potential sustainability measures in the NHS has reported that combined heat and power (CHP) is most likely to provide the greatest return on investment.
The Securing Healthy Returns report, published this week by the Sustainable Development Unit (SDU) for NHS England and Public Health England, includes analysis of 35 sustainability measures that it says could achieve a total £400 million of cost savings, and reduce carbon emissions across the NHS by a million tonnes a year, by 2020.
Of 18 energy-saving measures covered in the report, CHP provides the highest annual potential cost savings (£26.4m), followed by staff energy awareness and behaviour change (£21.5m), high-efficiency lighting (£7.2m), and reducing temperature set points by 1 degree Celsius (£6.2m).
According to the SDU, use of CHP in the NHS has the potential to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 3,750 tonnes a year – the equivalent of removing 1,250 cars from the road, the carbon dioxide offset of a forest more than three times the size of Sherwood, or the salaries of more than 1,200 newly qualified registered nurses.
One early adopter of CHP cited in the report is Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, which has introduced the technology to its Birmingham Heartlands Hospital and Solihull Hospital in partnership with CHP provider ENER-G.
The SDU has released an online tool in tandem with the report to assist trusts in implementing sustainability improvements.