Royal United Hospitals lands £21.6m grant for energy-efficiency projects

By Nick Batten on 6 June, 2024

A £21.6million decarbonisation grant is set to bring the Royal United Hospitals Bath (RUH) NHS Foundation Trust one step closer to achieving its net zero goals.

The multimillion-pound cash boost, awarded by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero as part of the Salix Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme phase 3c, will fund improvements including more environmentally friendly lighting, insulation, and heating and cooling controls.

Most of the vital funds will be used to de-steam much of the RUH’s 52-acre site, a process that will see the hospital’s ageing heating systems replaced with more energy-efficient options such as heat pumps.

Together, these initiatives will make the hospital more sustainable, and a more pleasant environment for all those who use it.

RUH Chief Executive Cara Charles-Barks said, “We are beginning to make great strides to reduce our emissions, through initiatives such as decommissioning our entire nitrous oxide manifold and a sustainable travel plan. However, we knew we needed to make significant investments in our estate to fulfil our commitment of reaching net zero for scope one and two emissions by 2030, in line with BaNES Council’s goals.

“This grant is therefore invaluable. It will enable us to make these essential changes in the coming years and will have a positive impact on the environment and the experience of being in hospital. We know that getting this right will be better for the health and wellbeing of the people we care for, the people we work with and the people in our community.”

When the proposed improvements are completed, by 2026, they will result in an estimated 24 per cent annual reduction in carbon emissions over which the RUH has direct control. This equates to just over 3,400 tonnes of carbon dioxide – the equivalent of just under 1,000 return flights from London to Seoul, or more than 150,000 car journeys from Bath to London, every single year.

The RUH worked closely with the Carbon Energy Fund to develop the plans, and will continue to support the RUH as the changes are implemented. Now, the team is working to secure contractors for the project, with work due to take place over the next two years.

Steven Heape, Project Manager of the Carbon Energy Fund said, “It’s been a pleasure to support the Trust in working towards its ‘net zero by 2030’ goal. We look forward to working with them with the project throughout its construction and the 15-year operational phase, ensuring delivery of the guarantee carbon savings.”

Laura Couldrey, Senior Programme Manager at Salix added, “We are delighted to work with RUH as it progresses its decarbonisation journey to meet its net zero target.

“Ultimately it will result in a better place environment for patients and visitors, as well as the staff working at the hospital. We look forward to supporting RUH in achieving its goals and cannot wait to see this work begin.”