The new NHS Net Zero Building Standard, published on 22 February 2023, provides technical guidance ‘to support the development of sustainable, resilient, and energy-efficient buildings that meet the needs of patients now and in the future’, says NHS England.
Developed ‘with healthcare, industry, and sustainability partners’, the Standard will – NHS England says, ‘support the NHS to get ready for, and align with, UK Government building requirements, as well as meet its commitments to deliver a Net Zero health service by 2045’. In October 2020 the NHS became the world’s first health service to commit to becoming Net Zero in response to what the organisation dubbed ‘the profound threat to health presented by climate change.’
While the approach to managing whole life carbon in the Standard is relevant to all healthcare buildings, the Standard will apply to all investments in new buildings and upgrades to existing facilities that are subject to HM Treasury business case approval process, and are at pre-strategic outline business case approval stage, from 1 October 2023 onwards. NHS England says this will result in reduced carbon emissions, and incremental improvements in the NHS building stock, ‘ensuring consistency, standardisation, and equity, across the NHS estate over time’.
The Standard will be periodically updated in collaboration with NHS organisations, partners, and suppliers, to ensure it remains current and relevant, ‘as technology and Modern Methods of Construction advance and evolve’.
Fiona Daly, National Deputy Director of Estates, Estates and Facilities NHS England, Commercial Directorate, said – as news of the Standard’s publication was announced – that she wished to thank members of IHEEM and HEFMA for their input during its creation, adding that she looked forward to working with the two organisations’ members on its implementation.