How Modular Buildings Are Helping The NHS To Hit Net Zero

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The NHS has set itself the challenge of becoming the world’s first carbon zero healthcare service, which is no small ambition considering the numerous other challenges it currently faces. The NHS is the UK’s biggest employer, and responsible for about 4% of all England’s carbon emissions.

However, the NHS Confederation points out that the climate emergency is also a health emergency, and has set out to define how the organisation will put the concept of sustainability into practice. This is of course a huge subject in an organisation as extensive as the NHS, and it covers a wide range of practices.

One of the biggest issues besides sustainability that the NHS faces is a high level of demand and severe financial pressures. The situation has been exacerbated by the Covid pandemic, when there was a sudden need for extra ward space, isolation units, and vaccination centres.

With waiting lists at record levels and an ageing population, there is still an urgent need to create more healthcare facilities in a timely, cost effective and sustainable way. This calls for a new approach to the construction of hospitals, clinics and other healthcare hubs.

Modular buildings are already a part of the solution to this problem. For example, when the UK government recently announced £50m of funding to create six new ambulance hubs plus 42 discharge lounges at hospitals throughout England, many NHS Trusts commissioned modular buildings rather than traditional bricks and mortar buildings.

This allowed the new facilities to be installed in a matter of weeks rather than several months or even years, a factor that is of crucial importance in the NHS at the moment.

Not only do faster delivery times mean better results for patients and less stress and pressure for staff, but it is also better for the environment, with reduced carbon emissions, and less dust and noise pollution during the construction process. This is of course an ideal approach for a healthcare setting where patients require a clean and quiet environment.

Traditional building materials such as bricks and concrete are carbon-intensive and require transportation to the site, and a large team of workers and heavy plant equipment to manipulate them. There are also high volumes of waste and the risk of spoiled materials through weather damage during the construction process.

Modular building components are manufactured off-site, significantly reducing the vehicle journey times generated by multiple deliveries and workers. This reduces the carbon footprint of the construction project, and minimises the impact on human health and the environment.

Modular buildings are made to high standards of energy efficiency, and the air quality can be controlled with high-spec ventilation systems. This makes them ideal clean and safe environments for medical procedures, and also means that they require less energy to run, and therefore produce less harmful emissions and also save costs.

Interested in finding out more about PVC fabric buildings? Please contact our team today.

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