Healthcare Advisory: The NHS Net Zero Carbon Hospital Standard (NZCHS)

13 December 2022

Despite already making significant progress, the NHS is responsible for around 4% of the nation’s carbon emissions, and its estate and supporting facilities services make up 15% of that emission profile. The NHS aims to be Net Zero (for the emissions it is directly responsible for) by 2040.

This journey to Net Zero is instrumental in our NHS Trust work at Ridge, so we set out below our current understanding of the implications based on feedback from client Trust teams.

Timescale: The NZCHS was due to be released this October but delays were caused by political instability and a new date is not yet available. However, it needs to be applied for from 1st April 2023.

Current requirement: All NHS capital projects over £2m currently require a BREEAM Certification (Excellent rating for new build, Very Good rating for refurbishment).

NZCHS requirement: This BREEAM rating requirement will continue to be mandatory in the NZCHS.

The NZCHS will set various energy demand targets as well as building fabric and building services specific limitations, or it will require a demonstration of Net Zero Carbon in operation.

Before the formal launch, teams are required to try to achieve the requirements of the NZCHS.

They currently seem to be accepting a gap analysis derogation with justification for falling short of the ‘Beta’ version of the Standard.

Feedback from various teams suggests that it is very difficult and costly to achieve the requirements of the Beta version and that RIBA stage 2 modelling and time requirements are significantly increased.

The Trusts will need to employ a Net Zero Carbon Co-ordinator from RIBA stage 1 to oversee and manage the process.

Delivering a ‘Net Zero’ National Health Service report (October 2020) can be found here

If we can support your estate, please contact Wendy Broomhead, Sustainability Partner at Ridge.

Wendy Broomhead
Sustainability Partner

Header image taken from NHS Estates ‘Net Zero’ Carbon Delivery Plan