NBT makes good progress as NHS launches new plan to cut carbon footprint

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Earlier this week the NHS unveiled a strategy to cut its carbon footprint and North Bristol NHS Trust is committed to playing its part.
Here at NBT, significant progress has already been made, and continues to be made in cutting carbon emissions, increasing the amount of waste that is recycled and encouraging green travel.
Sustainability will also be a key feature of the new hospital when it opens in 2013/14 at the current Southmead site. NBT has set itself strict targets which will make the hospital one of the most environmentally friendly buildings in the UK.
These include at least 20 percent of the materials coming from recycled content, a requirement for 20 percent of site energy to come from renewable sources and specific designs to encourage public transport, walking and cycling.
Over the last four years, the Trust has undertaken a wide range of projects that have resulted in significant energy (12,788 mega watt hours) and carbon dioxide (2,450 tonnes) savings. This has included replacing burners in the main boiler houses at Frenchay and Southmead with more efficient models and introducing controls to operating theatre air conditioning systems.
Recycling schemes have also been introduced across the organisation in the last few years. From October 2007 to October 2008, NBT achieved an increase in recycling of 282 percent (by weight) and a 45.6 percent decrease (by weight) in waste sent for incineration.
In October 2008 the Trust launched a major new three-year campaign called Treading Lightly which aims to reduce costs and carbon emissions by encouraging staff to change their habits and adopt good practice such as switching off equipment when not in use and recycling more.
A key factor to the campaign’s success is the recruitment of environmental awareness representatives throughout the organisation. These are members of staff from all kinds of professions who work with the Trust’s environmental management unit to encourage their colleagues to take a more ‘greener’ approach to their working lives. So far almost 200 members of staff have signed up to help.
The Trust also encourages green travel for its staff and its ‘Better Way to Work’ strategy has scooped silver and gold awards in the Avon Area Employers Award Scheme.
The plan provides many incentives for staff to leave their cars at home including secure cycle storage, membership to the City Car Club and access to cycle training, free inter-site buses, safety equipment and pedometers.
Esther Coffin, NBT’s Environmental Manager, said:
“There is no doubt that we have a lot to do but our aspirations are significantly challenging and our existing plans and initiatives are showing considerable success. We believe NBT is on track to be that better neighbour and make Bristol a healthier place.”
Saving Carbon, Improving Health, the NHS Carbon Reduction Strategy for England sets the ambition for the NHS to drive change toward a low carbon society and pinpoints key actions for the NHS to take to become a leading sustainable and low carbon organisation.
The NHS has a carbon footprint of 18 million tonnes of CO2 per year and it is the largest public sector contributor to climate change in Europe. This strategy will help the NHS achieve an enormous cut in carbon emissions, a reduction of at least 80 per cent by 2050, ensuring it is leading low carbon and sustainable organisation and meets the Climate Change Act requirements.
The NHS Carbon Reduction Strategy sets an aim for the NHS to initially reduce its 2007 carbon footprint by 10 percent by 2015. This will require the current level of growth of emissions to, not only be curbed, but the trend to be reversed and absolute emissions reduced.