Midlands hospital launches race to go carbon neutral

06 January 2022

Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull has launched a major drive to become carbon neutral by 2030, with a package of environmental measures.

The most ambitious of these is the installation of a new chilling system for the hospital’s four operating theatres and day care unit. The previous chillers pumped heat out as waste into the atmosphere, but heat generated by the new chilling units will be recycled and used to heat water in the hospital. This will reduce the need for the hospital to use gas-burning boilers for heating, which in turn is expected to reduce the hospital’s carbon usage.

The project to install the chilling units constitutes a half million pound investment by Spire Healthcare and began in the autumn. The new equipment was installed onto the hospital’s roof, in a complex procedure using a special 30 metre high crane one Sunday morning in November, when the hospital was at its quietest. The new units will come fully into use in early spring.

Crane lifting chilling system at Spire Parkway Hospital

A number of other environmental projects have been put in place at the hospital.

  • Previously, gas burners and salad coolers in the kitchen were left on during the day, but they are now only switched on when they are needed
  • Lighting in the hospital is being replaced by more energy efficient LED bulbs
  • The hospital, along with Spire’s other 39 hospitals across the UK, is now procuring all of its electricity from renewable sources
  • A member of the hospital’s finance team, Kelly Andrews, has been appointed as its carbon champion. She is responsible for identifying potential new projects and encouraging everyone at the hospital to think about what they can do to reduce carbon usage

Charlotte Swami, Hospital Director at Spire Parkway Hospital, said: “At Spire, we’re determined to play our part in addressing the climate crisis. We’re pleased that the new chillers and our other environmental projects will enable us to make inroads into reducing our carbon footprint.

“But the work doesn’t stop here. We want now to build on the enthusiasm of our colleagues for doing things differently, in a greener way, and continue to think of new ways that we can reduce our impact on the planet.”

In December 2020, Spire Healthcare’s Board approved a decarbonisation strategy for all of its 40 hospitals, designed to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 31 December 2030, and was the first independent sector provider to make such a commitment. £16.0m of investment over the next 10 years has been ring-fenced to help achieve this aim across the UK.

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